The Boyband Bandwagon
The other day I was driving home, listening to some old-school Backstreet Boys, when I had a moment of intense reflection which led to a realization of such magnitude that its likeness will possibly never be replicated:
I used to think the Backstreet Boys were cool.
I know, I know; that doesn’t seem like such a staggering epiphany, but allow me to elaborate for a moment.
First of all, let me say that I haven’t followed the Backstreet Boys for some time now. In fact, since I was about 15. Just today, I checked the Backstreet Boys official website, and was shocked to see that there are now only 4 of them! I know this is very old news to many of you, but as the tragedy of the fivesome having lost a member is fresh to me, I am still struggling to cope with the loss. Farewell, Kevin.
Let me set one thing straight: I’m not knocking the Backstreet Boys. I still find them delightfully reminiscent of my pre-teen years. All I’m saying is that I used to think they were cool, and now I don’t. Now I view them with fond familiarity and nostalgia rather than admiration of their musical abilities. Is this a change in my own perspective? Or perhaps they never were cool, and it was all just a naive misconception?
Case in point: The song I was listening to at the time of my epiphany was “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”.
Now, I’d never claimed to admire the profundity of the Backstreet Boys’ lyrics; however, in my recent moment of clarity, I began to wonder how any self-respecting man (or pre-man, I guess you would call it, seeing as some of them were but teenagers at the height of their success) could, with any air of seriousness, utter the following lyrics:
“Well I’m creepin’ up on your left
Straight up funky when I get with you
I get ruthless when I get wet
Keep the party packed in my corner
Tough like granite to keep the crowd hype
Get up on this just to get right
What you want is what you gonna get
Backstreet’s got the special effects, uh.”
Again, I feel I must restate this one fact: I am not dissing the Backstreet Boys. I’m merely pointing out a shift in perspective.
The official Backstreet Boys website claims that they “redefined the modern musical landscape.” Whether that’s true or not, they certainly held my admiration. In fact, I was one of the few true Backstreet fans who rejected *NSync as but an imitation of the original (Justin Timberlake? What was that about?). My devout fanship, however, was short-lived, as I fell off the boyband bandwagon in about the year 2000. The self-titled Backstreet Boys album and Millennium are the only Backstreet CDs I ever owned, and I really only ever listened to the first one. I guess I was so attached to the original that once their music started changing, the pain was just too great to bear.
Which brings up another question: On the 1997 Backstreet Boys self-titled album, there was a song called “(Everybody) Backstreet’s Back.” Had they been gone? Weren’t they just getting started? I always wondered about that… and then I was even more confused to find out recently that they had released an album in 2005 called “Never Gone,” after they’d nearly disappeared off the map for a while. It seems like they need to re-evaluate the timeliness of their song and album titles. Not to mention the use of mummies and vampires in a music video…
In any case, I have now reached a phase in my life where I must relinquish the folly of my youth, and admit that the Backstreet Boys just aren’t cool anymore. Perhaps they never were… but they’ll always have it “goin’ on” in my book, at least the book that belongs to the nostalgic, pre-teen version of me.
I guess this means I’m truly grown up now…
Long live the BSB. They’ve had it “goin’ on for years.”
Addendum: For those of you unfamiliar with the BSB bandwagon, click here. Notice the seriousness of their expressions as they disclose their innermost feelings to you, the eager viewer/listener. They just couldn’t “hold it back no more.”