Any self-respecting girl-child, born in the late 80s would have heard of Westlife, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. These bands not just shaped our childhoods, but also influenced major life decisions, such as, do I want my husband to be have a dimple on the cheek or not? And let's face it, these are important decisions. So while our parents presumed we were deeply absorbed in our Maths or History homework, in reality, we had our Walkmans on and had silent tears streaming down our face as Shane Filan, Markus Feehily, Kian Egan, Brian McFadden and Nicky Bryne crooned "An empty street, An empty house, A hole inside my heart, I'm all alone, The rooms are getting smaller"
They got it. They just got it. They understood late 80s born teenagers, like no one else. They were our best friends. Their music was like balm to our broken souls and their voice, like honey on a scorching summer day.
So what were our life problems as teenagers? Nothing really. But we loved the drama. We loved amplifying the bite of a mosquito on our raw skin and the taste of vanilla ice-cream on a wintry evening. And these men helped amplify those feelings.
As I blared Backstreet Boys' "I want it that way" for the millionth time from my stereo system, oblivious to my mother's incessant pounding on my bedroom door, yelling at me to reduce the volume, I would find new layers to the song. Did Nick Carter have a breakup? Is that why they wrote this song? Was he single and ready to mingle? How can one man have such a perfectly blond mop of hair on his head? And that dimple. My oh my!
As my mind worked in overdrive, along came NSYNC with their cheeky "Bye Bye Bye" and that delightful video to go along with it, which showed the band members being strung like puppets, climbing over walls, over a train and just running all over the place, in general. That video and song, gave teenage girls everywhere an ego boost. We suddenly realised that we're apparently "players, in a game for two" and men don't want to become"fools for us".
So from mopey teenagers, girls slowly transformed into rebellious teenagers who were suddenly too cool for school. This was also the time when Linkin Park was formed. So some of us girls, slowly began to cheat on our boy-band staple, with bad boy Chester Bennington. Here was a guy who was heartbroken as well, but with delightful rough edges, complemented by his million piercings and tattoos. There was pain and rebellion in his voice. What a deadly combination!
As the noises from my bedroom grew more and more violent and the pounding on my door became more and more incessant, I grew up. I slowly began to listen to heavier and heavier music. The posters of all my favourite British and white American men, were slowly being ripped down from my walls and being replaced with deadly looking posters of Slipknot, Metallica and Linkin Park.
But I would be lying if I said I didn't go back every now and then, to "Seasons in the Sun" and "Backstreet's Back". Even rebellious teens, had their mopey days. We were allowed one delicious shot of familiar, comfort-music (the equivalent of ear Gaajar Halwa if you may), on the bleakest of days.
Thank you for the stunning memories Westlife, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. You've touched lives in more ways than you can fathom. If ever you re-unite and do one last concert, expect to see a whole bunch of women in their 30s along with their babies and husbands at your concerts. We probably married those men and had those babies, because of you. Take a bow! You've more than earned it.
(All images sourced from Google)
(All images sourced from Google)