Flashback: Boy bands on the comeback

Flashback: Boy bands on the comeback

by Christine Rubenstein

If your favorite boy band broke up and came back together years later, we would still support them… Wouldn’t we?

“I think I would still be in love with them,” said Maritza Villela, a junior broadcast journalism major, wose favorite band is the Jonas Brothers. 

98 Degrees circa 1999
98 Degrees circa 1999
Boy bands have a history of becoming hugely successful worldwide, then having a rift, breaking up, then getting back together later. This has happened with almost every boy band a teenage girl has ever fallen in love with. Some include 98 Degrees, The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, New Kids on the Block and The Jonas Brothers. All of these bands have had much success in their careers, but couldn’t quite make the comeback they wanted to. Some having to do with age, others having to do with the way they wanted their musical direction to go, and others just wanting to move on.

This past summer definitely showed the reunion of the 90’s and early 2000’s for many fans. The Backstreet Boys went back on a comeback tour, as did 98 Degrees and The Jonas Brothers, but much to their disappointment, weren't as popular as their past tours in their prime.

The fans weren’t always as happy either. Some from the bands looked older, more mature, more hairy, and some even married. Much to our dismay, they have changed.

“If my favorite boy band broke up, I probably wouldn’t be in love with them as much as I was before,” said Christin Garner, a sophomore business major, whose favorite band is One Direction. 

For some fans who saw the summer reunions, the boys lost their “heartthrob” factor, which draws most of their female fans in. Once a boy band loses that, the music remains, but the initial charm that made them special is gone.

Many of their fans moved on to the newest bands, such as The Wanted, Big Time Rush and most popular, One Direction.

Although their true fans stayed loyal, they still didn’t have as much of an influence on the Billboard Charts as they did when their success was hot.

“I just don’t think they can get back to the point they once were at,” said junior health science major Shiva Amanat.

There seemed to be a trend of going on a “break.” The break causes fans to either go into shock or move on. And in many cases, the fans move on, which leads to the comeback years later, when fans have new obsessions and aren’t as invested or infatuated as they used to be.

“Boy bands that come back will always have the heartthrob factor with their fans, but not as much as before,” Villela said.

The members of the band get older, get married, change personally, or are disinterested in the new music. Meanwhile, new generations form, kids grow up, and teenagers grow into adults.

We can’t forget about the fact that each band has their “star” — someone who stands out in the band, gets the most media attention, makes girls swoon, and always is placed right in the middle when the band performs.

In The Backstreet Boys, it was Nick Carter, in NSYNC, it was Justin Timberlake, in The Jonas Brothers it was Nick Jonas and in 98 Degrees, it was Nick Lachey.

And in the new era of boy bands, One Direction already has a prospect to be the new star.

The Backstreet Boys circa 1999
The Backstreet Boys circa 1999

“If One Direction breaks up, Harry Styles would be the one who would still go on and pursue an individual career,” Garner said. “The ladies would still love him.”

We don’t want to jump to conclusions that the band will break up, but it seems pretty inevitable for most boy bands. It seems that the reason for the break-up of most bands is some members' desire to pursue their own career path. Each of the so-called "stars" of these bands mentioned above went on to produce a solo album after their break-up.

“It's sad that this is the future outlook on boy bands, but all we can do is enjoy the bands when they are touring, making music and impacting our lives at the moment,” Amanat said.

These Chapman women all agree: Boy bands come and go, fans get upset and heartbroken, but that is the "boy band culture." It is the music that their fans can remember them by, which is never ending and constantly playing.

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