Boy bands mark generation

Tina Lamsback

I am clicking my heels…”Take me back! Take me back, I say!” to a place where girls wore high ponytails, boys thought baggy jeans were in and seventh grade was the coolest. We abandoned the “Flashdance” look of stretch pants and high socks for pop band T-shirts. Total Request Live was an afternoon ritual, and Carson Daly was our god. Now don’t try to deny it, once school ended at 3 p.m. you were running to your locker, stuffing books into your L.L. Bean backpack and hauling to the bus before it left without you. Upon arriving home, you grabbed some Dunkaroos and milk, gave a brief synopsis to Mom and Dadabout who said what to whom and how your math test was and then headed to the family room.

There, they awaited you in all their glory: no one was ever the third wheel in this relationship, and everyone was equally involved. It was you, the television and the clicker (technically known as the remote control). It was 4 p.m. by now, and all you could think of was that immortal phrase. It rolled off your tongue like your own name, “Carson, can I come up?”

Every day, I used to come home and turn on TRL, just so I could rub it in my classmates’ faces that boy bands ruled. I was that “teeny bopper” who wanted nothing more than to get tickets to her favorite concert, whose first concert was one performed by a boy band, who painted her whole body black and blue just to meet her favorite band. Even better, one who thought “Millennium” had a dual meaning.

Now I am sure you have already guessed that my allegiance was to the Backstreet Boys, and I was a resident *NSYNC hater, but in my opinion, boy bands as a whole were the coolest of my generation.

Not only were the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC around to get that middle school dance out of control, society was also exposed to the likes of 98°, O-Town, 5ive and 2gether to listen to on Walkmans and CD players.

“98° was not only totally hot, but they were special,” sophomore Lindsay Bosen says. “They weren’t fighting for a spot on the ‘boy band hierarchy’ like Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. They tried to bring a new sound, especially with that song, ‘Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche).’ “

How could we forget, however, the short-lived run of 5ive and 2gether? They clearly did not get the memo on how to be a boy band. Lyrics like, “U plus me equals us” in the song “Calculus,” sounded too elementary, and 5ive’s lyrics, “I can feel you gettin’ closer now take your clothes off” in the hit song “When the Lights Go Out” might have been a little much for the average 10- to 14-year-old. As for O-Town, we thought Ashley Parker Angel was going to take us back to our youth during his comeback last year. Well, we all know what happened there.

The height of boy bands, of course, was in the year 1999 when world tours were really making an impact in society. Although it seems that everyone was into them, some weren’t.

“They were everything that was wrong with music,” junior Brian Larkin says. “They lacked originality, and it seemed like they were pre-packaged.”

Although even a die-hard fan like me would try to defend “my boys,” at times, you did agree with Larkin, based upon the set number of people in a group and how each had to have their own style to appeal to the world. Nevertheless, all of us had our allegiances.

At this moment, nostalgia equates to boy bands when I think of the ’90s. Life would have been different without them. For all we know, TRL could have been hosted by some dorky kid, and polka music could have been the fad. For those fans out there, if there still are any like myself, it is up to us to bring back the ’90s. We owe it to the boys just as they owe to us. I mean, weren’t we the first people they thanked in their acceptance speeches?

So whip out your posters, pins, high ponytails, and face paint. Take me back to a time where all I had to worry about was how I was going to throw my body onto Wachovia Center’s stage.