Sunday, June 22, 2008

Remembering Boyzone and Backstreet Boys

My sister just uploaded her blog with a nice piece on her adolescent idol, object of her affection and the music sensation of the eighties - George Michael. I was around 5-6 yrs when I remember discovering the poster of this rugged, stubble-cheeked wiry guy with cool sunglasses and a leather jacket standing with a knee flexed against a wall and driving my sister and her bunch of equally 'crush'ed girlfriends crazy. I still remember the poster on our wall - it was a still photograph from his "Faith" video.

My sister is super-super-excited about having gotten tickets to GM's last ever concert that is going to be held in London. So, I know for sure she's going to be holed up in the Queen's country until after August 24th. She's got three tickets - just incase they don't manage to find a kindred soul to baby-sit my lil niece - in which case, my adorable niece will get to see GM live!

Reading her article, I sat back trying to recollect who my teenage music idols were. I'll always cringe in regret that we belonged to the late nineties - a time for the pubescent boybands and girl-bands. Spice Girls took the world by a storm and to this day, one of my friends is so crazy about them that he waited 3 nights in a row in front of the Mumbai airport to catch a glimpse of them when they'd come to India - he ended up with an autographed picture with 'Baby Spice'.

And then there was this gang of girls singing "C'est la vie" and frankly that's the only byte of French I know. Britney's with her eyebrow-raising "Hit me baby" was a sensation of course. But the late nineties belonged to two boybands - Boyzone and Backstreet Boys.

Boyzone was this Irish band with cute looking guys (especially the leads Ronan Keating and Stephen Gately, the latter who later did a GMish coming out of the closet gig). They had a decent collection but mostly love balladish. Love me for a Reason was probably the one that brought them fame. A Different beat and Isn't it a Wonder, if I remember correctly, were more in the vein of 'save the world' pleas. My personal favorites were Baby, Can I hold you tonite - I really liked the video with each guy and his girl on either side of a glass pane and All That I Need.

Any piece on Boyzone would be incomplete without a mention of their biggest hit, the love ballad "Words". Haha. Infact back in our all-girls school, a couple of girls were thrilled to receive love letter that had typed out the words of the song. Aah, if only falling in love and staying in love were that easy :)

Ronan of course went onto give another hit in "When you say nothing at all" that was part of the OST for the Julia Roberts- Hugh Grant romantic comedy Notting Hill. But most of all, much to our chagrin, it remains my friend Amol's favorite song - and he dedicates it to every other girl he falls in love with!

But the Backstreet Boys were the showstealers! AJ, Howie, Nick, Brian and Kevin were fought for keenly by the girls in my class and we had our fiercely loyal groups for AJ, Nick and Brian. I strongly believe now that the video for Backstreet's Back was responsible for the sudden interest in the band. The ghosts and vampires were attractive and the final group dance was impressive! And I think, BB had a better range of songs than Boyzone. The beats were catchy, the lyrics easy on the tongue and the music... was well-above-decent compared to the fare that was otherwise doled out to us. There was this one song that went like "... you're the one for me, you are my ecstasy" - this one was my BFF's ultimate favorite and she'd get up suddenly in the break between classed and gyrate to the song on the secretly kept walkman in her locker. The last I saw of BB was "I want it that way" and that was the end of our relationship.

I was never really a fan of either boybands and I think this disappointment in Western music kept me away from it for a long time until I rediscovered it a couple of years ago. I will single handedly credit those nerve-grating annoying songs ' Barbie Girl' and "we're going to Ibiza" for ruining my association. Moreover, MTV and Channel [V] were increasingly turning to desi stuff and that was really disappointing.

I wiki-ed these boybands after I finished writing the above and it seems like they're pretty much dead and buried by all. I don't think I miss them one bit and I can doubtlessly claim that I will never be enthused to go for any of their comeback concerts.

Give me Pink Floyd anyday and I'll be Comfortably Numb to the rest.


Abinav Kumar said...

Well. Come to think of it - now I know why I do not listen to English numbers! Bad boys of the late nineties. Oh! How I used to hate them! (Though we did dance on Backstreet's Back... [:)]) Oh the Spice girls and such were nerve wrecking! I once thought I found out the reason for increasing suicide rates amongst teenagers when I listened to one of their songs!

Anyway. Good riddance. Ever since, I have been listening to very very few selected songs recommended, often forced, to listen by my friends. :)

Ramya said...

I think C'est la vie was sung by a group called Bewitched.