This week’s Swoon-Worth Sundays feature is inspired by some exciting (for me) news that was announced earlier this week: 98 Degrees is reuniting for a one-night only concert at the Summer Mixtape Concert! Seeing the line-up brought back a lot of nostalgia for the boybands of my childhood. (So much so that my sister is seriously considering us going to Hershey, PA to go to the concert!) While New Kids on the Block were more my generation, I hadn’t really gotten interested in Top 40 music until the Backstreet Boys were on the scene although my first memory of really being into a song on the radio was when Boyz II Men came out with “I’ll Make Love To You” (yeah, like that’s not an awkward song to love when you’re 13.)
…. I got sidetracked from writing this for a moment as I rewatched some of 98 Degrees’ music videos. Boy did these guys know how to make some good looking songs! <– yep, 3 different links there.. check ‘em out. I’ll wait here while you swoon a bit.
Edit (8/20): the 98 Degrees reunion on the Today show!! *swoon* indeed!
Once NKOTB and Backstreet Boys started that trend, there was an onslaught of boybands that emerged. One of which was N Sync, created by the same guy who started BSB. When their first single “I Want You Back” came out, I thought it was way too similar to BSB’s first song “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” and immediately disliked them in that teenage-mind of mine for that one reason. However, when they released No String Attached and it was AWESOME, I begrudgingly opened up my fandom to like TWO 5-member boybands.
While I never understood the reasoning behind always dressing them alike, it was definitely a different boyband scene back in the 90s. I felt that everything just seemed so much more… wholesome. Maybe it was because this was before/at the beginning of the Internet boom where everything and anything was easily accessible – good or bad – but back then, if we wanted news or info about our favourite pop stars, we’d have to pick up the monthly teen magazines like Bop or Tiger Beat! That disconnectedness that doesn’t really exist anymore because of Twitter and the like. Anonymity is even less attainable and all sorts of “scandals” and dirty laundry are aired for all. I guess, back then, if someone wanted to keep their private lives a secret, it was much easier to do so. … I still think it’s the matching wardrobe. Gives the impression to teens & parents alike that they’re fun, wholesome pals who aren’t threatening so your young daughters can go crazy over them!
(Pretty awesome: Buzzfeed has compiled a “63 Reasons Why Boybands Were Better in the 90’s“)
There are some days where I’ll hear one of these groups’ songs on the radio (marked as “flashbacks”, no less) and I catch myself singing along, still knowing all the words after all these years. My colleague and I go through phases sometimes where we’ll just feel nostalgic and put on some good ol’ boybands music to pass the afternoon. (Until one time last summer when her headphones accidentally popped out and BSB came blaring through her laptop speakers!)
While I feel old now since I’m not as in tune with the new bands that are out there (since I had no idea who One Direction was up until recently), it’s kind of nice to see this resurgence of boybands come back around. It’s like any trend whether it’s in fashion or otherwise, what was hip before will fade away only to come back around again. Because, of course before NKOTB the big “boyband” would have probably been The Beatles and there’s a reason it was dubbed “Beatle-Mania”! So although I don’t know who any of these new guys are, it brings a smile to my face hearing teens claim who their favourites are – just like we did with each of our fave groups back then. (And for the record, mine were Nick (BSB), Lance (N Sync), Drew (98*) )
A few discussion questions:
- Did you ever get into the boyband craze (or are you currently in your boyband phase)?
- Which groups did/do you love?
- What are some of your classic nostalgic childhood songs that you’d know to this day?
- And of course, the obligatory – fave member(s)?