From New Edition to Backstreet Boys – My love affair with boy bands
To be honest, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a fan of a boy band. I remember seeing New Edition television as a little girl and absolutely loved them. It was something about the voices blending together that did me in.
I was always a fan of music. The first cassettes I ever had were by Reba McEntire, Lionel Ritchie, Journey and Alabama. It was a nice mixture. Then came Michael and Janet Jackson.
And when three of the guys from New Edition started Bel Biv Devoe, I had that tape, too. And got in trouble at the end of second grade when we had our end of the school year party and I played “Do Me” over my boombox. Was Bel Biv Devoe a boy band? I guess so. They came from a boy band and they were three guys.
Maybe they were just a R&B group.
But there was something about the boy bands. When I was 6 or 7, I saw these boys in one of the teenybopper
magazines, but never heard their songs on their radio. Their name was New Kids on the Block and Joey McIntyre was so cute. My mama went and bought me their cassette, the one with the ugly sweaters, and I finally got to hear them. It was heaven. It was bliss. Hearing Joey sing on “Angel” or “Popsicle” was my favorite noise.
But then came “Please Don’t Go Girl” and I was a goner.
The hysteria that was New Kids on the Block came about and I had everything you could think of – the dolls, the posters, the VHS tapes, everything. I saw them in concert once – my first concert – on the Summer Magic tour.
My heart utterly belonged to New Kids on the Block.
So when the group disbanded, I was pretty damn heartbroken. I didn’t want to give my heart to another group. I turned to rap music – Tupac, Snoop Dogg – and country music. Odd combination, I know.
And a little group of guys from Philly came out with a song called “Motownphilly” and I felt at peace again.
This is when I started high school and gave my music heart to a singer, Bryan White, but it never felt fulfilled. He was pretty, wrote songs and played the guitar and had an amazing voice.
But Boyz II Men were always there – “End of the Road,” “Water Runs Dry” and the “Brokenhearted” song that Wanya did with Brandy. They were my group throughout high school. The ones I always went back to. The ones to soothe me when my grandmother died. They were the ones that made me happy when I was bullied for my up and downs in weight or because my single mother couldn’t afford the top shoes.
Then came Backstreet Boys.
I was about to graduate high school and saw them at Grad Nite, the month before I graduated. I was shy about it at first. I got a freshman girl in my PE class to give me a poster of them from her teenybopper magazine. It was Nick. He had long hair. I put it up inside my closet until I was comfortable with letting it be public – my heart was taken again.
About that same time, Rascal Flatts came out with their first single. They’re not really a boy band, but they were marketed as that at first. Even they will tell you that.
And trust me, Joe Don was hot. And played the guitar so good.
But they weren’t Backstreet Boys.
It was something magic about the Backstreet Boys. Yes, they were hella cute and beautiful, but their voices were everything I had ever hoped for in a band. Others came along – NSync, 98 Degrees, O-Town, LFO, 5ive, Westlife, I mean, I could go on and on. And I love several of them deeply. I’ve been an O-Town fan since they were formed. I thought Westlife was amazing even when they just took other people’s songs and remade them. The Backstreet Boys just had something that the other girls, except maybe Boyz II Men, didn’t have.
I’ve been a fan of boy bands for most of my life. Hell, I’ve been a Backstreet Boys fan almost more than half my life now. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
It’s been the longest love affair of my life – me and boy bands.