There's a new musical act in town, and it just might be more hated by the Internet than Rebecca Black.
And maybe that's the whole point.
Heart2Heart, a pet project of Lance Bass of former boy band 'NSync fame, debuted its first single, “Facebook Official,” on YouTube earlier this month.
“Facebook Official” is about love in the time of Facebook, told through lyrics like “I like your status, two thumbs up” and “Status update, what? Checking out pics of your butt.”
Viewed just over 700,000 times, with 13,500 comments, “Facebook Official” is pure boy-band fluff. Wearing matching outfits, earrings and eyeliner, the band's five young men, ages 17 to 21, wink, lick lips and pose for the camera between choreographed dance numbers.
It’s not the most artistically inclined song and video, to say the least.
The amount of dislikes on the video is more than 8 times the number of likes, implying that people watching the video came to gawk rather than enjoy. And YouTube is nothing without a little schadenfreude.
“Officially the WORST SONG EVER” wrote YouTuber rkonicek89, who added that the only worse things in life are either a personal cancer diagnosis, or cancer for all the “puppies in the world.”
“Fuck this shit, I'm moving to Mars,” commented CreeperRepublic.
The majority of YouTube commenters wondered if the band was joking, if the song was a parody, or if it was just an attempt to troll—to provoke a reaction.
“Didn't the lead singer in this use to make all those spoof videos on myspace? This is def a joke!” commented skierforlife17. (That username, skierforlife17, appears to refer to Nick Reed, Heart2Heart’s manager.)
YouTubers weren’t the only ones to wonder if Heart2Heart’s breakout single was a trolling attempt. Various media covering the video also had similar thoughts.
Simon Dumenco of AdAge wondered, “Is Lance punking us? Let us pray.” Dumenco opened his piece with a query from a reader: "Did Google+ pay BAE-BS to create this atrocity as a stealth attack on Facebook?"
Maura Johnston of the Village Voice also questioned if the band is “serious." She speculated that the song is bad on purpose in order to fit into “the genre 'trollgaze,'” explained as “the potential for laughing at/being annoyed by/saying 'wtf'" in order to drive views.
While that theory certainly seems plausible, a simpler one is Bass never got the memo that the era of boy bands is over.
Another explanation: Bass is trying to imitate the success of South Korea's K-pop bands, which have taken the American boy-band phenomenon and mutated it into something almost unrecognizable.
“LOL, everyone is hating on them, yet I find this so catchy. Honestly, everyone is acting like this is the gayest thing on Earth. It HAS been done before; look at the other K-pop bands,” wrote YouTuber Maaizee. “K-pop wannabes? Maybe, but I believe they have the chance to make it big if they made they're songs more meaningful and maybe be inspired rather than copy K-pop bands.”