Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 14:01
90s FLASHBACK Does 'N Sync’s patchy denim make you swoon?
At the guide, our staff is known for having strong opinions about pretty much everything. Starting in 2013, we’re taking stands on the pop culture issues that really matter, from tween stars to the movies that make us smile, from catchy pop songs to the stories that are dominating the Internet.
As One Direction and The Wanted have become more popular in the music industry with tweens and teens, the image of the boy band has changed along with it. Instead of coordinating outfits and dance routines, this new breed of post-pubescent pop stars prefers tatted-up arms, shuffling smoldering and singing in unison. The meteoric rise of these British boy bands on this side of the pond has been compared to the explosive popularity and vicious rivalry of boy bands in the late 1990s. Everyone had their favorite, but the two groups who were fighting for the crown of America’s favorite boy band were the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync. We don’t particularly care for 1D or the other guys, so we decided to settle the more important question once and for all. Which band is better: Backstreet Boys or ’N Sync?
Although the two bands don’t seem all that different looking back, in the 90s, they were anything but similar, and every tweenage girl made sure she vocalized her loyalties to which she considered to be the better band. Even fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King picked sides: Mickey D’s supported ’N Sync: and Burger King, Backstreet Boys. We guess since Backstreet wanted it that way, they could have it their way.
Teen obsession with both of these bands went far beyond just knowing all the words to every song. While both bands released favorites, ’N Sync gave us the best gossip with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’ iconic, denim-drenched relationship. We have to give props to Backstreet for having a classy look, however, sporting everything from Nike gear to Armani suits. ’N Sync definitely had their styling issues — mesh shirts, velvet pants and oversized jackets? Come on, boys. Yet who could forget Justin Timberlake’s Ramen-noodle hair, and who would ever want to?
For all the joy the Backstreet Boys gave to the world, how many of them still have solo careers? Most people can’t even name a single member of the band beyond Nick Carter. Well, Kevin, AJ, Brian and Howie obviously failed to make a big impression. Not ones to give up easily, the Backstreet Boys took a short break, returned to music in the late 2000s and released a string of under-the-radar albums. They even managed to travel on the Never Gone Tour in 2006 and produce a semi-hit single with “Inconsolable,” off 2008’s Unbreakable.
And *N Sync has spent all of these years broken into smithereens. All five members of the band haven’t been seen together since forever, and JT’s former bandmates weren’t included on the guest list for his recent wedding to Jessica Biel. Though it’s sad to think that these pop stars will probably never reunite, we can’t complain about their solo careers. JT has created quite a good name for himself in not only the music but also the film industry. Find us one person who didn’t enjoy his performances in “The Social Network” and “Friends with Benefits,” and we’ll be shocked.
When it really comes down to it, though, there is no noticeable winner between the two bands. The purpose of a boy band has always been to sell music and create a brand that teenage girls gush over, and both ’N Sync and the Backstreet Boys successfully accomplished this in the late ’90s. Although the boy band competition might continue to ensue among the up-and-coming groups, they all have one thing in common — they all aim to live up to The Beatles. And just like 98 Degrees will never be considered good, no other band will ever dethrone The Beatles.