I'm a huge fan of Jessica Hopper's writing — which is an easy thing to be right now, since she just published one of the best music criticism books of the year (decade?) The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. One regular theme in Hopper's writing really resonates with me: her demand for the respect of the tastes of teenage girls. This might also seem easy. It's not always.
Read this quote from Hopper's recent interview with TIME after the release of her book:
"How many reviews do you read where it says something like, “This is something your mom would like”? It extends the maligning [of] the teenage fangirl. Teenage girls are the number one purchasers of music. Are we going to say their fandom is fake? This idea that there is a right way to like music and a right music to like and a right way to express that—it all works together in this prescribed idea of how women are supposed to participate in music. Decades and decades of women being told we like music in the wrong way. It’s all just a myth."
Flip through the photos above and behold the power of the teenage girl. They sold out Lucas Oil Stadium. They filled it with screams so loud my head was ringing for hours after. They made signs, they made shirts, they sang every word. These fans are a force to be reckoned with — a living, breathing record-purchasing force. To the non-fans reading these words: as you scan this headline and read these words, are you tempted to malign the music — and therefore the fans — of what just might be the most powerful currently touring act in the world? Return to Hopper's words, then check yourself. Witness the power of the teenage girl.
(Oh, and the show? An unmitigated delight. I have a fair bit of trouble picking out which pop songs actually belong to One Direction on the radio — with five lead voices [recordings don't yet reflect the loss of Zayn Malik, who left the group earlier this year], my ears can mix their tracks up with other Brit singers like Ed Sheeran and The Wanted. Live, though, they're each revealed as gifted singers, anchored by the Harry Styles' warm vocals. They eschew the typical boy band matching outfits and coordinated dancing, preferring to dress in just about whatever and dance however they'd like. They interact with the crowd gamely and often, say thank you approximately one billion times and clown around with each other in moments of pause. What can I say? Simon Cowell knew what he was doing.)