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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, June 24, 2005

Backstreet's Back...Alright?

The year was 1989. I was 12 years old. My 13 year old best friend had gone to a Tiffany concert and returned starstruck. This was not because Tiffany brought down the house with her rendition of "I Saw Him Standing There", (although she very well might have) but it was instead due to the little known opening act of five bens (boys/men) who went by the name of NKOTB or, New Kids On The Block.

She loved these lads so much that she went out and bought their tape the very next day and decided to share the wealth me. I was also instantly smitten. Five guys who were too old to be attainable, but not old enough to be creepy...what's not to love? The guys went by the names of Danny, Joe, Jordan, Jon and Donnie.

Little did we know as we sat listening to the tape in my bedroom that day just how big the New Kids craze would become. In fact, over the next few years, you couldn't go anywhere without avoiding the New Kids phenomena. At least not in this 12 year old's universe.

It also should be said that the New Kid you liked was a lot like a litmus test and in turn, said a lot about your personality. Your favorite was Donnie? You always dig the bad boy. You fancy Jonathan? You like the quiet, older boy you sits in the back of the class who seems really smart, but then you do a science project with him only to find out he really isn't. You ache for Jordan? You also have a crush on the guy who is voted most likely to come out at your ten year high school reunion. How about Joe? Babyface innocence is your thing. You pick Danny? Well you, you're just plain crazy cause nobody picked Danny.

My personal favorite was Joe. In fact, it still is. I still enjoy watching him strut his stuff on Dancing With The Stars. By the way, note to the judge in the middle who attacks Joe for absolutely no reason, do you have ANY IDEA how complicated it was to memorize some of the complicated dance moves that went along with the Hangin' Tough or Step By Step tours? Did you sell millions of tickets, in part, because of this? No I don't think so. So step off!

But then the mid 90's came, and the boy band we thought so ferverently was going to be our Beatles had gone from being new on the block, to knowing their way around a block, if you know what I mean. So as with most good things that must come to an end, so did the reign of the New Kids.

Fast forward a few years. I believe the year was 1997. I was 20 and in college at the time. Suddenly, MTV started playing videos for a "new" band called The Backstreet Boys. I say "new" because apparently, they had been around awhile, but they were one of those, "we're really famous in a German's love David Hasselhoff" kinda way.

Immediately, my friends and I were ready to detest them. We didn't know The Backstreet Boys, but we had their number. What they were were the New Kids in disguise. Five guys? Check. Cute and innocent one? Cue Nick Carter. Bad boy who kinda, sorta can sing? Let me introduce AJ McLean. Closeted gay guy and even if he isn't who would like him hybrid? Meet Howie Dorough. Unofficial lead singer who is isn't gay, but is super religious? Herree's Brian Littrell! Quiet, older dude with model good looks but not much else going on? Will Kevin Richardson please step up. And believe me, the similarities didn't stop there. How many ways can you spell F-O-R-M-U-L-A?

It was shortly after this time though that the tides began to turn. That "Quit Playin Games (With My Heat)" had a good beat and you could dance to it. And that one dude is sorta cute. Plus they all are actually about our ages which totally makes them so dateable, cause you know, it could happen.

Suddenly we saw The Backstreet Boys in a new light. If we weren't going to get our NKOTB back (and believe me, it wasn't happening) we decided BSB was the next best thing. Why not get a chance to relive some of the cheesy glory days one last screaming fan filled time?

So for a few years we enjoyed The Backstreet Boys and, semi-tongue in cheek. We had fun watching the 12 year olds act like we acted and we got to go back to that prepubescent period one last time before venturing off into grown-up land, forever.

Then just like every other boy band on the horizion, BSB's candle burned out as well. Before long AJ was showing up on Oprah talking about a drug addiction problem and Nick Carter was talking about a "look at me, I'm dating Paris Hilton, I'm an asshole problem", or maybe not so much talking about it as living it. They were apart, but just like with any successful boy band, they were only as good as their last batted eyelashes filled harmony. Years went by and now, lo and behold, BSB is back! And believe it or not, they actually seem to be having some success this time around as well, though I gotta admit, it creeps me out a bit.

For starters, there's the name of their new album, Never Gone. I'm sorry but what is up with that? Never Gone? I suppose this is supposed to be some weird way to tell the fans they haven't left them, but it's about as reassuring as The Police's stalker slow jam "Every Breath You Take" is for stable relationships.

Then there's the age factor. Let me state, for the record, that the oldest Backstreet BOY , Kevin Richardson, was born in October of '71. The youngest, Nick Carter, was born in January of 1980. Which leads me to my next concern. At exactly what point do you make the segue from backstreet boy to main drag man or even perhaps deadbeat dad?

So Backstreet is back and apparently it's aight, and while I'll check it out for nostalgia purposes, for this wirl (girl/woman) I think the SS Boy Band has finally sailed. I officially pass the torch to the next generation of awkward adolesences. Only go easy on the BSB idol worship, would ya? This time around, these "boys" just might take you up on the offer.



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