Kids these days think that the ultimate boy band is One Direction, or even 5 Seconds of Summer. But back in our day, in our fleeting youth, we had different kings: Nick Carter, or young ramen-haired Justin Timberlake. You may deny your love of late ‘90s and early 2000s boy bands, but I’m willing to bet that you still remember all of the words to “Bye Bye Bye.” This Throwback Thursday will remind you of your first awkward crush on JT, and of the blistering rivalry that was NSYNC vs. Backstreet Boys.
- Backstreet Boys
While this may be a controversial ranking, the Backstreet Boys was superior to NSYNC. They had a softer tone, were a tad more sincere, and were on the scene for longer. While both bands were founded in Orlando, FL, and were actually really similar, Backstreet Boys is number one because “I Want It That Way.”
Oh, Justin. Before he was an actor, before he made a gazillion dollars doing tours with Jay-Z, even before he brought sexy back, JT was the “Mickey Mouse Club” graduate who dated Britney Spears and fronted a boy band. I mean, there were other members of NSYNC, including the very successful Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, and those other two guys. But Justin broke through the plastic toy wrapping around our hearts when he sang “It’s Gonna Be Me.”
- 98 Degrees
Does anyone actually remember 98 Degrees? Remember, it was the Lachey brothers, Drew and Nick. I think Nick married Jessica Simpson for a little while. They never reached Backstreet Boys or NSYNC status, but 98 Degrees definitely has its place in early-2000s music history. Also, you should watch the music video for “I Do” because it’s genuinely hilarious.
Hanson had the wholesome, all-American feel that other boy bands lacked. Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson won our hearts with “MMMBop” in the 1990s, and then faded into pop culture oblivion in the middle of the 2000s once they were all grown up and weren’t cute anymore.
- New Kids on the Block
This was more of an early 1990s band, but its catchy tunes still make it deserving of a slot in the arbitrary Jumbo Beat Best Boy Bands competition. Plus, it had Donnie Wahlberg, who is Mark Wahlberg’s trashy brother, so that’s fun.