One of the reasons I post so much about BTR is not because there’s so much to unpack in their show and music (though there IS and I’m not even halfway there) but because I want more people to appreciate these guys and what they do. The Age of the Boy Band has returned, but unfortunately Big Time Rush is very rarely included in anything celebrating this phenomenon, let alone given the credit they deserve for helping to bring it about.
This is why I am so in love with tumblr user keepingupwithnewmusic’s post “In Defense of Big Time Rush”
The article rightly points out much of BTR’s influence, while analyzing some of the possible causes for the band’s lack of recognition. On Big Time Rush being styled after The Monkees:
The Monkees were consistently dismissed by critics and fans as being a “fake” band because they were on a TV show. It didn’t matter that The Beatles also made movies, because they were a band first. This, then, implies that the issue is that the group was not formed organically, but rather, through an audition process . . . Big Time Rush was also formed through an audition process, but in 2012, this shouldn’t be surprising. Most Boy Bands are assembled through an audition process, like *NSync, The Backstreet Boys, The Wanted, O-Town (remember O-Town?!), etc. Everyone got to watch One Direction be put together into a Boy Band after they were competing against each other on The X Factor. So why should the pre-fab origin story hurt BTR?
The article also points out that, in contrast to most current “boy bands” trying to distance themselves from the term and its history, the guys of Big Time Rush have embraced it. Rather than denouncing the boy bands of the late ’90s and emphasising how different they are, BTR has consistently expressed admiration for those who came before them and been honored any time comparisons have been drawn between them and *NSync, Backstreet Boys, etc. They know that the music created by those bands was not exactly favored critically but have emphasized and emulated the hard work done by the performers rather than trying to belittle it in an attempt to make themselves look superior.
What I love most about this article (apart from the fact that the author managed to be fair and level-headed rather than sounding like a bitter fanboy as I know I probably do) is that it points out that BTR was the boy band that got this revival started. They were formed and began performing before there was any market for the boy band and despite being ahead of the game, they are consistently overlooked when websites, radio programs, or talk shows discuss the return of the boy band. Whether you love the boy band and are thrilled to bits that it’s seeing a revival or think it’s a blight on musical history that never should have happened in the first place let alone rear its ugly head again, you have to respect Big Time Rush and the producers behind it for having the guts to try something out that had no readily apparent audience.
That’s really what it comes down to for me, respect. I see and hear Big Time Rush either overlooked entirely or given a dismissive mention in so many media outlets and it kills me. It kills me that these hard-working, talented young men get so little recognition for their efforts and influence.