Boy Bands are Back: The Surprising Reason I’m More Nostalgic for One Direction Than Ever

written by MEAGHAN MOORE
august moon"
august moon
Source: Amazon Prime Video
Source: Amazon Prime Video

On May 2, I had a quintessential “me-night”: simple girl dinner, comfy pajamas, glass of rosé, my new Trader Joe’s Peony Blossom candle, and a new Anne Hathaway movie. I often reach for Anne classics on a night in like The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries (which usually turns into a double feature), Ella Enchanted, or The Intern. But this was a new movie, The Idea of You, and I was intrigued.

The Idea of You, starring Anne and Nicholas Galitzine, premiered that day—and the buzz leading up to it was wild. The paparazzi photos of the stars caused a stir, mostly because Anne looked amazing. But beyond the stars, the plot itself was making people talk. Since the movie is based on a novel of the same name, people (myself included) knew the plot in advance.

The movie follows a love affair between Solène, a single mother who recently went through a divorce (Hathaway), and Hayes Campbell, the lead singer of a world-famous boy band (Galitzine). After meeting randomly backstage at Coachella before the band, August Moon, performs at the festival, Solène and Hayes find themselves attracted to each other instantly, despite their sixteen-year age gap. When Hayes shows up at Solène’s art gallery and purchases every piece of art, the two are inseparable. So inseparable that Solène joins Hayes on the August Moon European tour.

It’s a dreamy plot: A woman falls in love with an international pop star and gets swept away—in the romance and on tour. It reminded me of a similar dream I had as a fourteen-year-old about a certain boy band star, Harry Styles. The author of The Idea of You, Robinne Lee, even spilled, “Harry Styles was one of multiple people who went into creating [the character of] Hayes Campbell.”

The movie is also filled with One Direction-esque songs, with many actually being produced by the same songwriter and producer who wrote “What Makes You Beautiful.” So, yeah, it’s safe to say that though Lee revealed August Moon had many muses, One Direction is undoubtedly one of them—if not the main one. Even more, I think that similarity is a major reason August Moon, which, I can’t stress enough, is a fictional boy band, is gaining popularity. Let’s dive into the details:

Why August Moon is taking off

They make us feel nostalgic

After watching the movie, I found myself humming songs by August Moon and recognizing them when I heard them on TikTok. When I opened my Spotify the next morning and typed in “August Moon,” there they were. A full album of music by the fictional boy band was available for streaming and I’ll admit it, I was streaming. Songs from the movie like “Dance Before We Walk” and “Guard Down” were my first plays, along with “Closer” and “I Got You.” Since the movie’s debut on May 2nd, streams of “Dance Before We Walk” spiked +400% on Spotify in the US, according to recent data from Spotify.

It’s not hard to guess why. These songs remind me, and I’m guessing many others, of listening to new One Direction songs years ago and bringing us to a different time in our lives. Maybe a time not so cluttered with work meetings, bills, commuting, and those constant adult responsibilities.

August Moon even put out a new music video for their song, “Guard Down,” which just came out on May 16 and already has over 433,000 views on YouTube. But why are we listening to a fictional band and watching their music videos?

As a certified Directioner, I can confirm that August Moon has a very similar vibe to One Direction and the music video has a very similar vibe to the band’s “Best Song Ever” video, a fan favorite. Nostalgia shows up in the “Guard Down” music video comments too, with commenters saying things like:

  • @cessginger9699: “Here to all the girlies in their 30s/ 40s ️enjoying this boyband as much as we used to in the 90s/ early 2000s”
  • @andre-cu4qn: “i’m a grown woman. why am i kicking my feet and blushing at a pretend band’s music video.”
  • @brunaaguileraandrade161: “How can I be in love with a band who doesn’t even exist?”

Nostalgia is the answer, friends. And maybe we’re a little jealous of Solène being able to live out our dream.

Being fans of something builds community

Being a boy band fan brought a sense of community too—being able to listen to the new albums together, follow stan Twitter accounts and send tweets back and forth, and share all of the new things you learned about the band members. For example, at some point in my life, I knew every One Direction member’s birthday and favorite color. Hopefully, that space in my brain is being used for something a little more important now, but at the time, trading fun facts about your favorite singer was a way of bonding with fellow fans.

Maybe, now that we’re older and have moved away from the consistency of seeing friends every day at school, we’re missing the communities we once had. Whether it was teammates on your soccer team, girls in choir, or even friends who were obsessed with the same British boy band, we all had strong communities of peers to turn to and spend time with.

Boy bands like One Direction will always have a special place in our hearts and bring us back to a simpler time with strong communities.

Not all of us are as lucky as adults—many of us have relocated from our childhood towns, followed different dreams, or recently moved to a new city (myself included). I know firsthand how daunting it can feel to put yourself out there and make new friends. Making friends as children came easily to most of us and the time spent together at school, practice or extracurriculars reinforced those bonds. Maybe we are all looking for connection and something to connect about.

Boy bands like One Direction will always have a special place in our hearts and bring us back to a simpler time with strong communities. Somehow, someway, it’s been almost a decade since One Direction went on an indefinite hiatus (I’m very sorry to be the one to remind you of this fateful time) and we are missing the boy band craze, and maybe the friends that came with it.

August Moon, despite being a fictional boy band, fills the void we may have in 2024 for poppy, upbeat music sung by a group of cute boys with messy hair. While I don’t think I’ll be starting an August Moon fan club anytime soon, I will continue to search for my new place as an adult with a newfound mindset: everyone is searching for community.

See you in the Ticketmaster line for the 1D reunion tour.