The NSync of sg?

Ok, so before all you SSQ fans start plundering me with vicious emails, hear me out. Listening to Homecoming Radio last week and the brief SSQ stand that was included (as well as an interview with Ernie Haase during one of the segments), it occurred to me that there is something of the boy-band quality to SSQ, or rather, their image: the hair, the makeup, the short ties, the “dancing” the general youth of most of the group. I don’t mean this primarily disparagingly. Behind the fluff and the froofy hair and general silliness, after all, groups like NSync and 98 Degrees even the Backstreet Boys comprised real talent, even if it wasn’t the kind of talent you prefer to hear. The challenge for the boy band, of course, is that boys will be boys … until they grow up. And then there’s something not only difficult but also unseemly about overgrown kids trying to play the boy-band image that once came to them naturally.It’s interesting to see how Haase on one side and Scott Fowler and Roger Bennett on the other have applied the lessons of the Cathedrals to their own musical enterprises in the years since they went on their own. Fowler and Bennett seemed to have retained the concept of two-old-friends-on-stage as one of the key organizing principles of L5’s appeal (perhaps this is/was more by default than anything else, there being two of them and a pre-existing friendship and all that). Haase seems to have taken to heart the importance of energy and dynamism, of creating a look and a sound that - keyed to a few signature tunes - brands the group’s identity (I assume Haase was also going for a two-old-friends image with Garry Jones until … well, “two-old-friends” became “two-former-bidness-partners”).

As he ages, Haase has a good chance of filling the role of patriarch (or “old man,” whichever you prefer) surrounded by young lads (the age gap making available a whole stable of jokes that, one can only hope, are not purely recycled material from George and Glen’s days). This is so not least of all because, as George Younce’s health declines and prevents public appearances, Haase being Younce’s son-in-law makes Haase the world’s public connection to George - talking about George was the point of the Gaither interview on Homecoming radio. But for now, the SSQ image is decidedly one of cultivated youth, and not only is “patriarch” or “old man” the last thing one think to call Ernie Haase, which seems to be intentional, but it’s also difficult to imagine him in that role. It’ll be worth watching to see how the Gaither connection helps shape the next phase of SSQ. Already, I’ve noticed from a lot of the pictures posted on various websites from their shows these days, SSQ hasn’t always appeared in matching suits and generally looks more aesthetically subdued, channeling (one would presume) the energy conveyed through hair, makeup and flashy clothes through the music itself (and yes, I know, SSQ has always mixed it up between matching suits and not, but my point is that in the pics I’ve found of the non-matching suit mode, they look more grown up and professional). This is not, as far as I can tell, a bad plan at all, since they seem to be lighting a fire everywhere they go these days. Which is to say: It gets harder and harder to pull off the Dawson’s-Creek-Goes-to-Prom look when you’re … well, not a kid anymore, and it’s a lot easier to be the group that sings like a house afire (as opposed to the guys who dance like a bunch of boys) when you’re old.

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