Enter the Appreciation: Backstreet Boys

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This year marks the 20th year anniversary for The Backstreet Boys (BSB), a pop and R&B 5-boy band. Well I should say five-man band.

How I got into BSB

I remember when I first heard of them. They came out about 1996-ish. I was 14 then. However, I think I didn’t really get into them until 15 or 16. When I got into them, I REALLY GOT INTO THEM. Thanks to MTV back when MTV stood for “Music Television Videos”, I was thrusted into the hard bodies and black sounding Backstreet Boys. My favorite Backstreet Boy is Brian. He wasn’t my first fav though. I had a small crush on Nick but then I heard Brian sing and I was DONE. Swoon-central.

The extent of my BSB craze

I made a BSB baseball cap. I had posters, magazines, autograph biography book, even an All Access Video on VHS which I still have because it came with the video of behind the scenes and never-before-seen videos and a CD. All good stuff. The extreme of my BSB craze was when my high school friend asked me if I wanted to go to Total Request Live to see The Backstreet Boys. I said “Hells Yeah” and then started working on the biggest flyer poster so that The Backstreet Boys could see it. It was known at that time that people with big posters could be called to go into the MTV studio and sit in with TRL. But anything goes when you had the most popular band in the world only a few feet from you.

The TRL Madness

Me and my friend go to Manhattan around 7:30am. We skipped school to go and to stand there. Unfortuntely I didn’t know that TRL started tapping at around 3:30pm. So like a crazed teen, I stood in that same spot while I was bombared with girls coming from all over the country and filling up the space in front of the studio. It was pure madness. Matter of fact, this was the second time BSB was at the studio that week. The crowd was bigger the first time earlier that week. Hard to image.

Unlike what you saw during TRL where a whole bunch of kids start screaming like they are being run over, it was surprisingly quiet while I was standing in front of the studio. Only when the overhead camera came our way and literally told everybody to start screaming like a lunatic did you see why TRL was the way it was. But it was cool.

I started to get uncomfortable quickly because I couldn’t sit down at all. It was so crowded that I had to lean over to get my weight off one of my feet at a time. I met some cool girls that was from Michigan or Minnesoda, if I recall. But it was so long ago that I don’t remember. They were definitely from another state. The time was 12:30pm and I was feeling like crap. I haven’t eaten, I couldn’t sit since 7:30am and I couldn’t see a damn thing in the MTV studio that I was standing in front of on the second or third floor. Usually TRL has big windows for people to see into but this particular day, TRL had blacked out the windows with black curtains. Later I found out that the Fire Commissioner said that Backstreet Boys presence caused a ruckus and they had to minimize any potential causalities from an outburst of teen craze. So that was why the black curtains were there and Backstreet Boys couldn’t do their signature “Hello Wave” to the crowd of screaming girls. I was too through by then and headed home.

I couldn’t see them because of some incident which was minor that happened the first time they were there. I felt cheated and so did my big poster. They never got to see it. I got home in time to see them on T.V. Ironically, I had a better view of them in my living room then actually being 20-30 feet away from them in the MTV Studio. My friend had stayed there thinking he might be seen on TV. Well nope, didn’t see him nor the cool girls I met with their long sign. If they did show them, it was a quick glance. I could have been there, not even getting a 1-minute fame, but I was happy I was home, sitting down, comfortable, eating my lunch.

My Favorite Albums

My favorite Backstreet Boy albums are Backstreet Boys, Millennium and Black and Blue. Their first three albums basically. I haven’t heard the last one they did this year yet, but I plan to. My favorite song is probably “All I Have To Give”. I can sing that song like I was really in their band.

Transitions

Like most boy bands, you either change your style over time or pack it up. Their transition from being a young band to being an adult band wasn’t so smooth. First of all, half the band was already an adult by the late 90s, but bands had to have a certain image and formula to be successful. That meant singing and acting like younger versions of themselves. Backstreet Boys really came into their own by the third album, however their next couple of albums couldn’t live up to the spunk they once had. They were a mix of fantastic romance, with sexual rebellion and dashes of good humour. I think they lost that by the third album as they became more of an alternative and adult sound. Sadly, too much adult since they just sounded like a regular R&B band. They didn’t adapt to the every changing medium because around 2005 and on, Pop and Rock were crossing over into Rap and Hip-Hop. You also started mixing Metal with Rap. Backstreet Boys was just too safe and didn’t experiment.

Successors

Backstreet Boys were New Kids on the Block successor and almost reached their level of success. They didn’t have a cartoon series after them nor action figures. N’Sync was on the same level as for a while but couldn’t go as far as Backstreet Boys. They had two albums and then went their separate ways. After N’Sync marked the inevitable end of the 90s pop boy bands and any chance of monstrous success. Solo pop artists came back and took over, dominating the scene but then another explosion happened with pop boy bands in the new millennium. They spelled J-o-n-a-s. Nickelodeon was onto something when most of the new pop sensations came out of their Mickey Mouse Club and future successful kids shows. But that’s for another post.

Videos

All I Have To Give 

Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

Larger Than Life

Their new single – In A World Like This

 

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