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Throwback Thursday is your weekly concentrated dose of nostalgia, where we round up the bests and worsts of all things 90s (and the early 2000s.) This week: the top 5 boy bands (Valentine’s Day edition). 

Before I even start, let me just confess something. I wrote this post while listening to “Girlfriend” by Nsync and Nelly. Hey, I had to get into the spirit of things, right? #Don’tJudgeMe

Also I just have to say this: If a girl was really as cute as Beyonce with the talent of Alicia Keys, she certainly wouldn’t be Nelly’s boo. Dream on, dude. Anyway.

Nothing pained me more as a child than knowing I would never be Nick Carter’s valentine. Nothing. I remember 11-year-old girls crying during middle school dances when “All or Nothing” by O-Town came on. My friends all wanted to say, “I do” to Nick Lachey (seriously, Jessica Simpson couldn’t even tell the difference between chicken and fish and she got to marry him!) Don’t lie – you wanted to marry an Nsync-er or a Backstreet Boy – and you had to choose between them. It’s just a fact of life for us 90s kids. There was no denying the awesome that was pop music and even more so, our favorite boy bands. So, in true 90s kid fashion, I had to round up the best boy bands from our childhood/pre-adolescence, and what better day than Valentine’s Day? (I’d ask Nick Carter this year, now that I’m older, but I never quite recovered from the Paris Hilton incident so I think I’ll just stick to my boyfriend – I’m sure he’ll appreciate that, too.)

P.S., I still listen to all of these “bands” on the reg. #NoShame

And no, I’m not sorry for hashtagging. Or for saying “on the reg.”

Backstreet Boys

OMG, I want it that way, too! I don’t even know what that means, but if the Backstreet Boys want it, I want it too.  I don’t even care if we are two worlds apart, you are so my fire (and my desire!) Just one request though: tell me why you’re not my valentine this year, please? I can change! I have a playlist of BSB songs that is unfathomably long and yet I still know all the words even though I was 8 years old when I got into them and I’m almost 23 now (side-note: 2013 is their 20th anniversary and holy cow do I feel old now…) I will always prefer older BSB songs like “Quit Playin’ Games (With My Heart)” and “Get Another Boyfriend” but “I Want It That Way” is the iconic Backstreet Boys song that everyone went crazy for (well, unless you were an Nsync fan.) Anyway, this Valentine’s Day,  revel in the 90s goodness and imagine Nick, Brian, AJ, and Kevin (not Howie because nobody liked him) serenading you and try not to focus too much on how humble  they are – half of the music video is just staged fans screaming and holding up somewhat naughty signs and proposing marriage. Awk. Ward.


Actually, it’s tearing up my heart that I had to pick between Nsync and BSB as a child. As I grew up, I found love for Justin Timberlake, and even a little bit for JC Chasez, even though his solo career was really creepy (“Some Girls Dance With Women” anyone? Yeah…I got over that one pretty quickly.) I learned that both boy bands could live together in harmony in my iTunes library. Justin is the only one who still has a lot going for him (and arguably the only person on this entire list that does, come to think of it.) All Lance Bass has to say for himself is that he’s BFFs with Kris Jenner, we already know JC is a creeper, and Chris Kirkpatrick is better known as Chip Skylark – was there anyone else in Nsync? Oh, yeah, Joey Fatone… Moving on (please, it’s a well known fact that Nsync fans either liked JT or Lance, so please don’t be a hipster and try to tell me you loved Joey or something. Liar.) Regardless of the awkwardness that has come from JT’s fabulous solo career, the best way to celebrate V-Day is to just close your eyes and envision them as marionettes, dancing their way into your heart. Swoon.


Few bands had the ability to send girls into the depths of depression like O-Town. Something about “All or Nothing” that just made middle schoolers believe that they’d never find love as they sat on the floor in the hallway and wept over their crush dancing with Jessica (because the other girl was always named Jessica) and by the way, I’m pretty positive the DJ at every school dance was just ruthless and sadistic and knew exactly what he was doing. And let’s just take a second to talk about “Liquid Dreams” okay? (Actually let’s not; that’s really gross.) I really don’t have anything more to say about them. I think sending little girls into a black hole of depression and singing about you-know-what is more than enough.

98 Degrees

I really wanted to start this with a pun about “The Hardest Thing” but decided that A) I need to stop with the puns and B) it could be misconstrued, so I decided against it. 98 Degrees had all the makings of a typical boy band, but like most of them (O-Town included) their star died out pretty quickly. Nick Lachey is the only one who is still somewhat famous, but that all depends on your definition of famous. The biggest thing he had going for him was his reality show with Jessica Simpson, but like his band, their marriage also faded all-too-fast, much to the simultaneous dismay and happiness of their fans. One good thing I can say about Nick is that he doesn’t look any less stereotypically hot now than he did back then. Actually, in retrospect, he was way hotter than JT and Nick back in the day. Dear 98 Degrees, we do still cherish you. (I know, I know. I promised no more puns. Sorry.)


I wish I could pick apart the lyrics to “MMMBop” but it’s just not possible. The song makes no sense, much like “Summer Girls” by LFO, yet it was so beloved by so many. It was also a little creepy that girls were so obsessed with such young-looking boys with long hair who sang songs that made no sense. Doesn’t that bother anyone at all? It bothers me. And I was in the not-a-fan camp for the longest time until one day when Hanson blew my mind. Everyone loves Hanson in the “aww they were so cute back in the 90s when they sang ‘MMMBop'” sort of way and nobody cares about what actually happened to them. You know what happened to them? They made another album, and it was fabulous. Their 2004 song “Penny and Me” is proof that they were actually super talented (and pretty cute, underneath all that hair and adolescence…damn, I wish I was Penny!) Of all of these nostalgia-ridden boy bands, I’d probably pick one of the Hanson bros to be my valentine, just because of that one song. But I will never admit to liking “MMMBop” – I’ll just  listen to it ironically for the rest of my life.

What were your favorite boy bands? Tell us in the comments!
Next week on Throwback Thursday: The Top 5 Girl Bands