Last week, I traveled to Copenhagen for a massive, citywide, four-day rave (I’ll tell you all about that later). During a rare break lounging around my hotel room, I found myself mesmerized by Teenage Superfan, a documentary television show about the teen megafans of Page Four: a Danish boy band consisting of four wholesome-seeming teenagers who were signed, of course, after a music exec discovered them doing covers on YouTube.
I don’t understand a lick of Danish, but anyone watching the episode—generally, about how Page Four’s music helped a 16-year-old named Louise cope with her parent’s divorce—could understand the general emotional vibe of what was happening. Boy bands often resonate in the lives of young women at their most vulnerable, whether by family and school life or through the general fragility that growing up can imbue. And there was something recognizable in Louise, who was afforded the chance to interview her favorite member—Lauritz Emil Christiansen, Page Four’s answer to Harry Styles—yet kept an understated, mostly reserved demeanor throughout, hiding her shy enthusiasm from this perfectly chiseled youth. That is, unless she was with her friend:
Page Four is typical as boy bands go, in that they’re young and cute with an inordinate, probably unfair level of charisma; they make pop music that is sonically unadventurous and specifically catering to the inchoate egos and libidos of their young fans. However, in Teenage Superfan—which has just four episodes, one for each member, and is most definitely a promotional vehicle for their debut self-titled album, which dropped May 25—Page Four is doing things a little bit differently.
For instance, for part of this episode, the second in the series, Lauritz openly discusses his girlfriend and even lets viewers in on a phone conversation between them, something the management of most boy bands have shied away from, lest their fans feel alienated (or begin attacking said girlfriends on Twitter). The band sings exclusively in Danish, which both exhibits a sweet sense of locality—a homegrown band for its home country fans—and also seems like an unsavvy business decision, considering Denmark is the only country in which a majority of inhabitants speak Danish. (A minority of the populations in Northern Germany and Greenland also speak it.) But then, of course it’s just like an American to assume that a band like Page Four would want to go global in the first place.
What’s most interesting about Page Four, though, is their music. Consider their second single from last year, “Fucking Smuk,” which translates in Danish to “Fucking Beautiful.”
The gist of the song, via my Google translation, is that you, girl, are incredibly beautiful and hot and Page Four wants to get with you. Standard fare, pretty catchy, and also one of the most Aryan videos I have ever seen, all set against the beautiful backdrop of a watery Copenhagen port.
Page Four’s first original hit, “Sommer,” was released about a year ago, and is probably my favorite; the chorus is a wavery, nostalgic and triumphant coda celebrating the loveliest time of year, and like all good summer jams captures the slippery, ephemeral notion of possibility that an excess of vitamin D imbues.
On Page Four’s label page, it explains that each member of the band—Christiansen, Jonas Eilskov, Stefan Hjort and Pelle Højer—has his own influence, but can agree on “Michael Jackson, Maroon 5, Frank Ocean, Lucas Graham and John Mayer,” an eclectic yet somewhat daunting prospect that can nevertheless be heard in their latest single, “17 ar” (“17 years”), whose video upholds the cardinal rule that boy bands must be as carefree as possible and, at some point in their careers, running in slow motion through nature.
If you’d like to further explore this music, Page Four is out now on Sony Music Denmark and they have a few other videos on their Vevo, including “Du Og Jeg (Magi i Luften),” which is definitely sappy (translation: “You and I (Magic in the Air”) but is somewhat fire in a post-Jack Ü world.