Monday, October 3, 2016

Backstreet's Back Alright... and I am Old!

The Backstreet Boys are back, what a time to be alive! Turns out, when they said "as long as there'll be music we'll be coming back again", they weren't kidding. Thank God! Whatever is left of music these days, barely qualifying to be called just that, needs to be revived by whatever was going on there in the 90s. I found myself at a 90s party last weekend where I was definitely the only person who actually remembered these songs coming out, if you know what I'm saying. Now I do admit I'm hugely biased, having had an incredible 90s childhood, so every song from that decade comes with a flash of memories of me standing on the table, dancing, lip-syncing because I didn't speak a word of English, but how do younger or older generations fail to see what the 90s gave us? Let me elaborate...

Well, ehm, I don't think I have to mention the Backstreet Boys again, do I? Oh never mind, why not...? The Backstreet Boys are amazing! They deserve to be called amazing although, let's face it, they didn't do anything. Like Michael Jackson, who I would like to call the most unbelievable thing to come out of any decade, was an absolute force of nature, definitely the best performer ever and sang like there was nothing else he could do. The Backstreet Boys: not so much. They had the hair and nose Michael Jackson was missing, but Howie D and Nick Carter usually didn't amaze with their vocal range. However, just like MJ's, every song of theirs was an instant classic. This sounds ridiculous because these days "Everybody" is obviously a classic, but I remember being six years old and thinking this will be a hit, although I dare say I probably didn't know what a "hit" really was. What a flipping tune. 20 years later I still love it every single time. It just doesn't get old, only I am...

Now that I said "20 years" I actually realize I went to a party for old people. Most of these people were not around when the Backstreet Boys released... well... anything. I was watching Jimmy Fallon the other day (don't ask, I don't even know why myself either?) and he had young Grace Vanderwaal on who just won "America's Got Talent" at 11 years old. Jimmy asked her about the song "Bye Bye Bye" which, oh my God, is such a tune. But quite evidently, young Grace had no effing clue. She had never heard of that song. Being 11, she was born when Justin Timberlake had already kind of retired. And not from the boyband, but his SOLO career, only to be an "actor". There a kids out there who probably know Justin from his appearances in movies more than his music. What a shame! Now if that doesn't make anybody feel the pressure of time on their backs, I don't know what will.

The truth is that I am now old enough to claim a decade. When I was younger, I heard of 70s and 80s parties, and I knew Cyndi Lauper and Boy George from TV, but I didn't know what it actually felt like to dance to "Take on Me" when it first came out, or having a crush on Morten from a-Ha when he was actually a heartthrob. Now, I am old enough to be telling young kids what that was like, only in my own decade. 20 years ago, which is longer than most popstars have been alive, I was getting set in puberty and was rocking out to Techno before it became a hipster music genre. We didn't have phones or computers, and only yesterday I was telling the story of how I recorded Enrique Iglesias' "Hero" on the radio when it charted so I could listen to it over and over again. This doesn't just sound like an anecdote from the past but from an entirely different phase of history.

We can't help but think that our decade was the best, and yet the 90s really were an incredible time. Only later on I found out that the feeling of security and peace one felt during childhood actually had a foundation in the 90s: there was a sense of idealism in world politics after communism fell in Europe and the US had actually started to look for new foreign policy goals (for once) without antagonizing, but assisting world leaders to achieve peace. The 1990s reshaped the planet, and even today I felt like there could have been a better planet if that mentality hadn't gotten lost so dramatically in 2001. Music, however, was definitely just so, so much better back then. The only aspect of life that did not benefit from digital technology was music, hands down. I'd take the Backstreet Boys back over semi-talented DJs from France or Sweden any day. And what's wrong with dancing? Why do boybands these days stand still? Thankfully, starting March 1, the Backstreet Boys are back. 

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