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Monday, 19 December 2011


They arrived in the middle of a pre-X Factor boyband boom, five guys standing in a line, looking constipated in love, and plucking imaginary keys out of the air. In popular memory, every new single was a ballad, ending with a key-change, the boom of a confetti cannon, and a sudden leap off a line of stools. Fourteen number one singles and one former bandmate later and they’re leaving amid a craze for cavernously anthemic pop/classical albums, made by stubbly men in tuxedos who don’t care about credibility.

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