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One of Those New Boy Bands Has a New Single Inspired By… Malcolm Gladwell

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 22: (L-R) Austin Porter, Edwin Honoret, Nick Mara, Zion Kuwonu, and Brandon Arreaga of music group PRETTYMUCH attend the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

PRETTYMUCH is one of the several swaggy, streetwearized new boy bands vying to fill the crater left by One Direction. So far, the going has been slow: Their most popular song, “Teacher,” has clocked about 5 million views on YouTube, which for an aspiring monolith created by Simon Cowell is not very much.

Hope springs eternal, though, which brings us to the group’s new single “10,000 Hours.” Like plenty of boy band singles, it’s is a generally pleasant, squeaky-clean version of R&B with some hip-hop flourishes, sung, in this case, by kids who look acutely like Urban Outfitters models. (Not that I still shop at Urban Outfitters…) But the inspiration for this otherwise well-worn material is both new and extremely funny: Malcolm Gladwell.

Here’s the chorus, via Genius:

10,000 hours of loving you
We gon’ get it right, get it right, baby
10,000 hours of loving you
Do it every night, every night, baby

I’ll put in the time if you let me (oh oh)
I’ll fill up your mind with some mem’ries
Babe I’m ’bout to take to take 10,000 hours of loving you
We gon’ get it right, get it right, baby

This refers to Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule,” which, as explained in his book Outliers, holds that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. (This is why I will soon be rich off video games, thank god.) Here it is applied to love, if not exactly sex. The 10,000 hour rule eventually went through a ritual round of debunking, and, frankly, thinking you can love someone only if you do it for 20 hours a week over the course of 10 years is just bad advice.

Of course, I doubt that PRETTYMUCH—none of whom can drink legally—have any idea that their new single was inspired by Gladwell. The song was written by Sean Douglas and Talay Riley, who have put in something close to 10,000 hours writing very middle of the road (and often satisfying) pop music for people like Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Chris Brown, and Nick Jonas. Maybe one day they will achieve perfection. In the meantime, this is the corniest Malcolm Gladwell-related bit of music ephemera since that time he interviewed Gucci Mane.