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Sept. 24, 2007

'90s bands playing their way into the millennium

by Jenny Williams, Online Weekend Editor
Oh, the '90s the decade of the boy and girl band. The Backstreet Boys, N'SYNC, Hanson, 98 Degrees, the Spice Girls and LFO all had their heyday but seemingly vanished shortly after the new millennium began. Justin Timberlake and Nick Lachey left N'SYNC and 98 Degrees in the dust of their respective solo careers. Backstreet was no longer back, Hanson didn't have anywhere to go after their one hit single "MMMBop," fell off the charts and LFO went downhill after their first CD. The Spice Girls, once in a league of their own, faltered after the departure of fiery red-head Ginger. Now, seven years into the new millennium, many of these bands are attempting a comeback in the harsh music industry.

Getting past "MMMBOP"

Hanson, the first band to declare a comeback, will forever be known for their monumental single "MMMBop," released on their first album in 1996. For the past decade, the boys of Hanson have been focusing on defining a new sound as well as concentrating on their personal lives. The band recorded "Underneath" in 2004, but the album was only a minor success, lacking the sparkle from the height of their boy band days.

Now the Hanson brothers are getting serious with their latest album "The Walk," released in July of this year. Unlike their prior releases, "The Walk" focuses on defining the group's new, more mature sound, which leans towards Fall Out Boy's style. The band focuses on creating a more distinctive rock/pop sound and adding a hint of emo.

Hanson's first scheduled tour for their new album kicked off Sept. 18 in Columbus, Ohio at Newport Music Hall and will end on Oct. 16 at the Coca Cola Roxy Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. Although Hanson's recent performance was not a part of their official tour, the boys still worked the crowd displaying their new sound. Even though the Hanson brothers have discovered this new and improved sound, their lack of a solid history that only produced one hit single makes it doubtful that this group will succeed on their second time around.

Spicin' it up

The last time anyone heard about the Spice Girls was after their musical divorce in February 2001. Since their break up, the Spice Girls have all been concentrating on other activities. From posing in magazine spreads to taking care of children, Victoria Beckham a.k.a "Posh Spice," wife of international soccer superstar David Beckham, has had a busy schedule. Mel Brown, "Scary Spice," experienced a rocky romance with actor Eddie Murphy and its aftermath, a child. Musically speaking, Emma Bunton, "Baby Spice," made an album named "A Girl Like Me," that generated some success within the UK, but little within the U.S. Mel Chisholm, "Sporty Spice," had huge success as a solo artist after recording three critically acclaimed solo albums that topped the UK charts. Meanwhile, Geri Halliwell, "Ginger Spice," spent the past years between TV projects and recording in the studio.

However, the Spice Girls recently announced their plans to re-group for a world-wide tour. The group plans to go on an 11-date tour starting Dec. 7 in Los Angeles and ending Jan. 24 in Buenos Aires. The girls decided to band together one last time to have a proper goodbye for their fans all over the world, according to a statement by Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm in an interview with AOL music. Although the band has reunited, they have yet to let their fans know about future album releases. The Spice Girls will be sure to rock the stage on this tour and to be welcomed in each locale by their loyal fans.

Backstreet's back

The Backstreet Boys, one of the first official boy bands of the '90s, changed the meaning of music for every 13 year old girl when they debuted their self-titled album in 1996. The band continued to come out with chart toppers until they disbanded a few years into the new millennium.

The Backstreet Boys officially announced the production of a new album, scheduled for release Oct. 30 of this year. This time around, however, Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson will not make an appearance on the record due to personal reasons. The band's first single from the new album, "Inconsolable," has been playing on the airwaves for the past few months, generating much excitement by Backstreet fans everywhere.

Although the Backstreet Boys are coming out with a new CD, this has not halted any of the individual boys' solo careers. Lead singer Brian Litrell released a Christian pop-gospel in May of last year. Backstreet Bad Boy AJ McLean has been in the process of recording his first solo record, Howie Dorough has plans to release a Spanish/English album and Nick Carter released his freshman album, "Now or Never" in the fall of 2002 and is now attempting another solo effort. The band's final member, Kevin Richardson, is pursuing an acting career after his success in Broadway's "Chicago."

The Backstreet Boys will forever be known as the first official boy band icon of the '90s. With a solid history, they will only experience more success than before.

These three bands are coming back to face artists on the rise such as Kanye West, fellow boy-bander Justin Timberlake and not to mention the rest of the music industry. Whether these bands survive in a new era of music or fall off of the map again remains to be seen.



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  • Sylvia (View Email) on September 24, 2007 at 10:33 PM
    Your comments on Hanson are highly inaccurate. They released their first album in 1997, not 1996. This is not a reunion or a comeback for them, as they never broke up or went on hiatus. You didn't mention that in 2003, they walked away from their major label deal and started their own label, which makes their Underneath success (#1 on Billboard's independent label chart) a bit less "moderate". The music on "The Walk" sounds nothing like Fall Out Boy. Their tour began on September 10 in Nashville, not September 18 in Columbus. It's presently scheduled until November 8 in Las Vegas, not October 16 in Atlanta. They have had more than one hit single; in fact, they had three singles that hit the top ten of Billboard charts and another that hit the top 20. At least you spelled their name correctly. In the future, I hope you will do better research before publishing.
  • Laura (View Email) on September 24, 2007 at 10:50 PM
    wooo i cant wait for the BAckstreet Boys' new album wooo BSB #1
  • Moni (View Email) on September 25, 2007 at 4:11 AM
    BSB aren't 'reunited'. They never split apart and their 'comeback' was actually in 2005 with Never Gone. This is not a reunion or comeback.

    And Spice Girls is just a publicity stunt.
  • Dave (View Email) on September 25, 2007 at 9:00 AM
    Somehow, I doubt that the Backstreet Boys will only experience more success than before.

    You've totally sold Hanson short here. They have plenty of history; it's just that you don't know it or didn't include it. How about their documentary, which is now a part of the curriculum at NYU and USC? How about their benefit single for AIDS and their participation in Toms' Shoe Drop in Africa? How about the fact that their single "Great Divide" was recently the #1 requested song on Q101 in Chicago? You mention a not-yet-recorded solo album by a BSB member, but no substantial update on Hanson. Bit of bias, perhaps?

    The main reason Hanson will succeed while boy bands like BSB may not is that Hanson are self-sufficient. They don't need to pay songwriters to write songs for them because they write their own songs. They don't need to pay musicians to be their backup band because they already play all the instrumentation on their albums. They don't need to pay producers because they can produce their own music. They don't need to rent studio time because they own their own studio. They also have a legion of very hard core fans who make sure that all of their tours are sold out or very close to it. BSB are dependent on their label for all of these things, and if they don't sell well, their label will not want to pay for songwriters, producers, etc.

  • Elize (View Email) on September 26, 2007 at 4:06 AM
    Can everyone just stop bashing Backstreet Boys. They were never gone and are unbreakable. All the other bands disappeared in the beginning of the new millenium, but not the boys. I can't wait for their new album and so does many others.
  • musicxisxlife. on October 3, 2007 at 8:02 PM
    you have totally undermined hanson here.
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