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Appreciating Boy Bands Through the Years

Jeremiah and I have courage. Not because we’re big and bad, but because we are choosing freely to write about the wonderfulness of boy bands. Pledging allegiance to the likes of One Direction, NYSNC, the Jonas Bros., etc. is not something we have a problem with; in fact we’ll adamantly admit to it. And the difference between Jeremiah and I, as opposed to others of our generation and gender, is simply this courage. Everyone enjoys boy bands, but not everyone enjoys admitting they enjoy boy bands. These boy bands use simple lyrics, catchy hooks, beats, tunes, and appeals to our emotions to draw us in, and it works. Whether you realize it or not, you, like everyone, love boy bands.

The only problem with all these great boy bands is it leads to multiple divisions among our society. Some prefer the boy bands of the 80s, some the 90s, and some the 00s. Jeremiah and I are a great example of this, too. However, acknowledging that all boy bands are inherently great, we’ll set aside our disagreements and instead of debating the topic, highlight all that is awesome about the boy bands of the 90s and today.

Boy Bands of the Nineties – Jeremiah Ordos

The Backstreet Boys' "Millennium" released in 1999 has sold more than 13 million copies

The Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” released in 1999 has sold more than 13 million copies.

There it was perched up on my bedroom wall. I don’t even know how it got there. It had always been there. I actually thought it was painted on the wall because it was never moved. It looked so majestic sitting there, almost blank, all white with the word “Millennium.” So simple, yet so elegant. When I looked at it I was overwhelmed with happiness, and I felt tranquil as if nothing could harm me. The poster of the Backstreet Boys seemed out of place; it wasn’t in a teenage girl’s room, but mine, a toddler’s room instead. This is the way certain boy bands’ songs make us feel. We can argue forever on what constitutes a boy band, such as number of members, intended audiences, if they play instruments, etc., but we can all agree on one thing: boy bands make us feel special.

I could go on and on about the different groups of boy bands in different generations, and if you are the type of person who considers the Beach Boys, Jackson 5, or the Beatles as boy bands, I could go on forever about those groups too. For my own selfish purposes though, I will be focused on the 90s and early 2000s boy bands. The likes of the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, the one hit wonders LFO (Lyte Funkie Ones), O-town, 98 Degrees, heck, even Aaron Carter despite him being a one kid boy band, are bands which are unrivaled by any other of their time period. These groups were the bee’s knees, or the cat’s pajamas, and still are to this day.

NSYNC's "No Strings Attached," released in 2000 has sold more than 11 million copies.

NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached,” released in 2000 has sold more than 11 million copies.

My favorite boy band by far is NYSNC and even to this day they’re still my number one. Mostly because of Justin Timberlake, my love for the band has been strong, even since the day they broke up. So finding out in 2013 that they would make a reunion, albeit be it a short appearance together, I went wild. NSYNC’s return to the VMAs was supposed to be crazy, where our beloved boy band would set the stage for the award show. That didn’t happen though as JT scaled it back. Why would you do that to us, Mr. JT? I love you and all, but that was the only thing you have ever done that I didn’t respect you for. Perhaps you had personal reasons for doing so, but why play us all like that on national television?

A personal favorite song is “Summer Girls” by LFO, which is probably the only song that the common person knows by the group. The beat is impeccable, one of the best in any song I’ve ever heard. The lyrics, ooh the beautiful ring of the lyrics, “New Kids on the Block, had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick / I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer…” Indeed Chinese food makes everyone sick, and everyone thinks it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer. If these lyrics don’t relate to you and touch your heart, I don’t know what song will.

Hanson's "Middle of Nowhere" album released in 1997 sold just under 4 million copies

Hanson’s “Middle of Nowhere” album released in 1997 sold just under 4 million copies.

A Special Short on Hanson’s “MMMBop” by Sean Taylor

“MMMBop” is pure unadulterated 90s love. It’s so sugary sweet, diabetes is actually a risk. I have a theory that all major wars are just one loudspeaker playing “MMMBop” away from peaceful resolution. Taylor, Zac, and Isaac Hanson put it all in perspective, and with their incomprehensible onomatopoeic chorus they probably saved some lives. God bless you, Hanson. MMMBop, ba duba dop, Ba du bop, ba dubs dop, indeed.

Boy Bands of Today – Lucas Buseck

You were there, remember? You were with your sister, perhaps your brother, maybe even by yourself (which is all right, by the way). You were in front of the television that was tuned to the Disney Channel and between episodes of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, That’s So Raven, or even Hannah Montana, a music video came on. There was a curly haired boy that looked to be about 14, and he could play the guitar and sing in a really catchy way. His two brothers were there, too, and you all went to the year 3000.

The Jonas Brothers' self-titled album, released in 2007

The Jonas Brothers’ self-titled album, released in 2007, peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200.

Whether you realize it or not, the Jonas Brothers essentially brought boy bands back. The Backstreet Boys and NYSNC were things of the past by this time, and together Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas reintroduced us to and opened the door for boy bands to reemerge into the spotlight. Their songs aren’t masterpieces by any means. In fact, some would consider them atrocious, but they’re catchy nonetheless. There are reasons these songs stick in your head; its not just by coincidence. I’d be willing to bet that you sung to yourself the lyrics, “He said I went to the year 3000” somewhere around 3,000 times. You probably wondered how Kelly Clarkson was still relevant one thousand years later, and I bet you also wondered something along the lines of, “What the heck is a flux capacitator?” But yes, it’s okay, I still do as well.

After Disney Channel endorsed a boy band and made a movie centered around them, Nickelodeon decided to jump on the bandwagon as well with Big Time Rush. There was a show and plenty of music videos before and after commercial breaks. I don’t really remember any BTR songs, and this is mainly because my memory is filled with images of the boys and their great hair, perhaps the greater attention paid to their hair, their schemes to win over the hearts of attractive females, and a really funny looking, bald, round production manager guy.

One Direction's "Midnight Memories" was just released earlier this month.

One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” was just released earlier this month.

Finally, after all these boy bands were endorsed by television networks, one emerged to rule them all, breaking the mold along the way. Without any corporate sponsorship, One Direction exploded into the international spotlight. Though their music is generally catered toward the female populace between the ages of 12 and 16, the tunes they produce are catchy and relatable. We all know some girl that doesn’t think she’s beautiful, which conversely adds to her beauty. For most every guy there’s that special someone that has that one thing that they can’t really identify, but is that “one thing” nonetheless, and that same someone that, every time they touch, they get a crazy ru-u-ush. Lastly, I don’t know how you can even consider disputing that those dudes 1D are one of the greatest bands out there as they have the best song ever that anyone could dance all night to, aptly named “Best Song Ever.”

Until next time, Bye, Bye, Bye.

 

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