Boy Band Head To Head: Emblem3 vs One Direction

August 4th, 2013 12:00pm EDT

Emblem3 vs. One Direction Two boy bands are doing big things in 2013 or as rapper T.I. Would say, “Big things poppin’”. Emblem3 are a  product of the X-Factor US while One Direction was a product of X-Factor Great Britain. Neither band was victorious on their respective seasons, but regardless of winning or losing, both seemed to be poised to for the limelight.  Emblem3 recently released their debut album Nothing To Lose while One Direction prepare to release, wait for it, a movie.  Who else did that?…coughs* Justin Bieber… cough*

Teen-pop is all about a package.  That isn’t to say that artistry is unimportant, but creating the perfect package for the youth to buy is the goal.  With Emblem3 and One Direction, Simon Cowell offers two different ‘products’ that ultimately have the same goal – making that paper. As Akon put it, “I’m gon’ tell you, like Wu told me, cash rules everything around me / singin’ dolla dolla bill y’all…” Both have the looks and voices, but when examined side by side, who has the edge when it’s all said and done? Emblem3 takes on One Direction, ready, set, GO!

Emblem3 definitely doesn’t want to be labeled as a boy band, and in all fairness, they’re not one in the ‘traditional’ sense. However, Emblem3 is made of three young men who eschew more grown folks themes in their music, evidenced by July 30 debut Nothing To Lose.  In other words, what they sing/rap about suits a more youthful, pre-teen/teenage audience than the twenty-something plus crowd.  Whether they like or dislike the label, Emblem3 are a boy band and should just own it.

Compared to One Direction, Emblem3 are hipper in the sense that there are hip-hop and reggae cues throughout their music, something that the British/Irish boys can’t boast of. There is more of a modern pop sensibility, but without the predictable, if ubiquitous electro-centric production.  Sure, the raps and tropical infused vocals can trend corny, but has Harry Styles ever busted a rhyme?  Emblem3’s Cali loving persona as well as their hipness bodes well in their favor and journey towards achieving commercial success.

One Direction
One Direction were unapologetically built as a ‘boy band’, period.  They should “like never ever”  deny the label, period.  Musically, One Direction trend more on the rock side of teen-pop, likely to give the band more oomph.  If One Direction were a dance-pop band, imagine how much more cornier they would be? I cringe at the thought of the boys trying to deliver a big dance number… It’s a disturbing vision that’s for sho!

Emblem3 may be hipper because they are being poised as the new, more eclectic, modern day ‘boy band’. That said,  One Direction have stronger commercial footing behind them.  They have earned success in the US incredibly quickly through very strategic promotion and packaging (did I mention an upcoming movie?).  Emblem3 are certainly in a better place commercially than many of the US X-Factor contestants have been projected to currently to sell around 40,000 copies, BUT those numbers won’t come anywhere near One Direction’s album numbers. How big are One Direction’s numbers? Two number one debuts (2011’s Up All Night and 2012’s Take Me Home) with 176,000 and 540,000 sold during the first week respectively.

Who has the edge? One Direction, hands down.  Emblem3 might have hipness, but One Direction has the cash flow.  Basically, Emblem3 are a promising new artist, but albums don’t sell merely on promise.  One Direction have money written all over them… well tattoos technically, but you catch the drift.  No matter how much cornier “Live While We’re Young” may be compared to “Chloe (You’re The One I Want)”, the British boys have set the standard for commercial success and that’s a huge part of the teen-pop market.

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Filed under: Feature, Music, Opinion, Pop, Pop Culture, Teen Pop Tagged: "Chloe (You're The One I Want)", boy band, boy bands, Emblem3, Justin Bieber, Live While We're Young, One Direction, pop head to head, Simon Cowell, Teen Pop, X Factor

Related: Emblem 3, One Direction, Music, Pop

Photo Credits: Columbia Records, Syco Music

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