Five Surprisingly Great Albums from Former Boy Bands

Members of One Direction and their hair at a 2012 show in Phoenix.
Members of One Direction and their hair at a 2012 show in Phoenix.

The Jonas Brothers are coming to Phoenix this week, and if I'm counting right, they're at least two major boy band generations old -- Justin Bieber stole their thunder, and then One Direction became the subject of more fanfiction than any other real people on earth (unless you've read either of the manuscripts I sold to Alex Jones, One Direction Is a False Flag and Harry Potter Is a False Flag Is a False Flag.) They've had their hiatus, they've had their label exodus, they've had their weird and apparently imaginary sex tape meta-scandal.

Now they're getting ready for their We're-Real-Artists-Man comeback. V isn't out yet, but in honor of the attempt, here are five boy-band albums that did fulfill those primal artistic needs.

5. Hanson - Underneath - 2004

Look, I'm not going to ascribe any unheralded genius to Hanson's post-Mmm-Bop output -- I'll leave that to my friend Mallory, the superfan who insisted I listen to this album on my comically ungainly, tiny-screened iPod when she was 18, I was 17, and neither of us had a particularly good excuse to own a Hanson album.

But man, is "Penny and Me" catchy, much as I generally avoided rolling the windows down and turning the radio up in the high school parking lot while it was playing. Their career trajectory since the late '90s is completely in keeping with the knowledge that Taylor Hanson eventually founded a supergroup featuring Bun E. Carlos, James Iha, and Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne.

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