Backstreet’s Back, Alright!

They’re all you ever wanted, they’re all you ever needed and we want them back. What am I talking about here? Why boy bands of course. Almost any 90s child can admit to listening to *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys when they were the most popular. This goes for the young men of the 90s as well.

The epidemic of boy bands did not start in the 90s though. People of our generation tend to forget about the earlier boy bands like The Jackson 5 and the Monkees who came about in the 1960s.

“We really didn’t call them boy bands in the 60s and 70s,” said Robert Boyd, an adjunct in the music and theatre department. “They were just bands with boys in them.” Boyd does not have a personal favorite boy band from his youth but he said that he still enjoys listening to that type of music today.

Another fan of past boy bands is Joe Rapolla, the Chair of Music and Theatre Arts Department. He also has a history of working in the music industry. He explained that he continues to love The Beatles and many of the original boy bands but also appreciates some of the more recent ones. “… I also respect hard working bands like Hanson, who were popular when I started my job at PolyGram/Universal Music Group,” Rapolla said.

These boy bands have certainly left their mark on the music world but the ones known mostly by our generation are *NYSNC, Backstreet Boys, Hanson and 98 Degrees. When one of the songs from these boy bands comes on the radio, be prepared for at least one girl who grew up in the 90’s to scream out of excitement.

“I listened to all of the boy bands of the time to some degree, but *NSYNC resonated with me the most for whatever reason,” said Rachel Brady, a junior music industry major. “*NSYNC was actually my first concert and when I was told I was going, I couldn’t even speak I was so in awe and excited.”

Brady’s reaction is a similar one to most girls of the 90s, myself included. I was never taken to a *NSYNC concert as a child and can honestly say I am still bitter about it.

Today, *NSYNC is not together. A sad reality but one that is true. However, the Backstreet Boys are still together, still producing albums and still continuing to tour. Kevin Richardson did take a hiatus some years ago but returned to the band to join the “In A World Like This Tour” this year. People that do not follow older boy bands may think that these concerts do not do very well in the box office; these people could not be more wrong.” In A World Like This Tour” sold-out in many locations and almost sold-out in others.

Mstarnews.com wrote a review about the Backstreet Boys’ show in OH. “Though it’s been 20 years, the passion of both Backstreet Boys members and fans could still be felt in Cleveland,” the reporter said. Even with these boy bands being 20 years old, they still have a strict following.

The more recent boy bands include the Jonas Brothers, One Direction and Big Time Rush. “… Since I had experienced the boy band phase so much when I was younger, I purposely tried to stay away from it as boy bands became extremely popular  again in today’s time,” said Brady. “However, I succumbed and listen to One Direction and I do like them. They have been the only current boy band I’ve gotten into though.”

Some would argue that boy bands today could not top the boy bands of the 90’s but not all people from today’s generation agree. “I think that One Direction can be the new *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys for the next generation,” said Jaclyn Franzi, a senior education major. “I know there are other 20-year-olds out there that love One Direction as much as I do.” Franzi does admit though that the boy bands of her childhood “will always have a place in [her] heart.”

As for the boy bands that are fading out, some do not think that will ever happen.  “… They have to have good material, and a positive image, but I think boy bands will always have an appeal, always be able to connect with a fan base, and continue to draw as they and their fan base get older,” said Rapolla. “Once they make that connection, it’s usually lifelong.”

Anyone who watched the VMAs this year saw *NSYNC briefly reunite to perform one song together. I believed this to be a tease but Brady disagreed.  “… The old boy bands can never seem to let the glory days go and the diehard fans eat it up,” Brady said. She thinks that boy bands will always be around, to some degree at least.

“They will never fade,” said Boyd. “Music is part of our life and can bring us back to a point in time.”

So boy band fans, no need to fret. With their popularity only growing from the 60s to today, boy bands do not seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Now only if someone could get *NSYNC to go on a reunion tour. That would truly make all of my 90s dreams come true. That and having my see-through purple Gameboy Color back.

PHOTO COURTESY of Jacklyn Kouefati