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PostSubject: The boys are back   The boys are back Icon_minitimeWed 10 Sep - 17:36

The Backstreet Boys perform Tuesday at the Saddledome. Hanson performs Sept. 12 at MacEwan Hall. New Kids on the Block perform at the Saddledome on Nov. 19.

Just over a year ago, being part of a boy band was considered to be the dorkiest gig in pop.

Unless your name was Justin Timberlake, the mid-2000s was a cruel time for those who rode the boy-band boom of the late '90s.

The Backstreet Boys and Hanson struggled to launch comebacks and found it hard to buck the lame-o stigma of having been a part of the dreaded pre-teen pop trend.

Jordan Knight, a former member of New Kids On The Block Fleche down whose late '80s breakthrough set the template for the modern boy band Fleche down was a cast member on humiliating reality series The Surreal Life, featuring washed up celebs.

Members of 'N Sync wanted to reunite in 2006 but their dream was nixed by bandmate Timberlake who had made the rare transition to a successful solo career. When MTV asked him why he didn't want to take part in a reunion, Timberlake's dismissive reply was telling. "What we did doesn't work now," he said.

Even the latest bubblegum sensation The Jonas Brothers felt the hard times. In early 2007 they lost their deal with Columbia Records after their debut disc failed to sell 100,000 units.

But today those Disney darlings are on top of the pop world. Their latest disc A Little Bit Longer debuted at No. 1 on the charts and it's expected to be one of the year's top-selling CDs. All of a sudden it feels like the tides are shifting. Boy bands are back and that resurgence isn't limited to new cutie-pies like the Jonas Brothers.

The Backstreet Boys are on an arena tour, which will bring them to the Saddledome on Sept. 2. The boys in Oklahoma pop-rock trio Hanson have made a respectable comeback as indie artists, and are performing at MacEwan Ballroom on Sept. 12.

Even the long gone New Kids On The Block have returned. Over 4,000 hysterical fans stood for hours in the rain to cheer on the quintet as they reunited on the Today show last May in New York. The band performs at the 'Dome on Nov. 19.

For the first time in a long time, being in a boy band isn't looking all that bad.

Even so, most of the pretty lads who are lumped into that category bristle at the classification.

The Backstreet Boys remain the top-selling boy group of all time, having sold more than 100 million CDs around the world. Fifteen years after they were formed by the now disgraced boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman, they remain the epitome of the boy band. And yet, even they're not entirely comfortable with that cursed label.

"We got our start in Europe and they had a lot of (boy bands) over there. We kind of got lumped into that pile," says Backstreeter Howie Dorough, 35. "We didn't even know what a boy band was. They said 'Well, boy bands are pretty boys, maybe one of them can sing, and they have (choreographed dance moves).' We saw them and they looked like a bunch of pansies. We thought 'We don't want this boy band title.' But it followed us when we came back to the United States. (It was the same) with groups like 'N Sync, 98 Degrees and Hanson.

"At first it felt derogatory and we used to have an uphill battle trying to get people to call us a vocal harmony group instead of a boy band. But we don't care now. Not as much as we used to. At least they're still calling us something."

The brothers in Oklahoma pop-rock trio Hanson were even more offended at being lumped in with the boy band fad when their breakout single MMMBop hit the top of the charts in 1997. They played their own instruments, wrote their own songs and they were not manufactured by a Pearlman-type svengali. "I don't think the boy band title was in any way accurate for us," says Isaac Hanson, 27. "In almost every case when you're talking about boy bands (they're formed) as a contrived thing by some outside source. . . . Our process was very organic."

As for the wholesome Jonas Brothers, they're already uneasy with the label. In a recent Rolling Stone cover story, 15-year-old Nick Jonas fantasizes about recording a rock album under an alias.

Nick's reluctance to be completely swept up in the latest wave of boy band hysteria is understandable. More than any other musical genre the kiddie pop universe is entirely trend based. You can be on top of the world one minute and a total punchline the next Fleche down from idol to pariah in the blink of an eye.

The boy band stars of the '90s understand this acutely.

Hanson went from being a pop phenomenon in their teens, with their CD Middle of Nowhere selling 10 million copies, to a comparative flop upon the release of their followup This Time Around in 2000. That disc barely cracked sales of 500,000 in the United States.

Isaac says the band was hurt when their label Mercury Records merged with Def Jam, a label that couldn't see past the media-imposed boy-band image, which Hanson so resented. When This Time Around failed to sell as expected, Def Jam pulled funding from Hanson's tour, leaving the boys to tour on their own dime.

"Everything by then had gone rhythmic pop in the late '90s with the Britney Spears/ 'N Sync type of thing and that's just not what we did," says Isaac. "Pop culture was going in a different direction than we were.

"We were always leery of the misunderstanding that we weren't songwriters and musicians. We constantly had to remind people. . . . Because of our youth . . . people would not take (us) seriously."

Ultimately, after a three-year struggle with Def Jam over creative direction, Hanson left the company to form their own label, 3CG Records.

Canada's most successful answer to the kiddie craze was a Victoria-based quartet of adolescent brothers, The Moffatts. They felt so hindered by the public's perception of them as a boy band as opposed to rockers that they broke up in 2001 when they were still extremely popular. The brothers went their separate ways and in trying to launch solo careers most of them have taken pains to distance themselves from their boy band roots. They didn't respond to interview requests for this story.

In 2003, while struggling to recast himself as a hard rock-emo artist, Scott Moffatt told a reporter that he was determined to break away from the boy band stigma, even if it meant disappointing old fans. "When we look out into the audience we often see a lot of the kids disperse as the shows go on," he said. "We're fine with that though, 'cause we expected it. . . . We're doing something different from The Moffatts."

Over the years, boy bands have primarily appealed to young girls, who respond with giddy shrieks to the squeaky-clean, non-threatening good looks of the stars and the saccharin sensitivity of their lite, bop-along pop tunes. Given this, and the heavily manufactured, marketed nature of most groups who fall under the boy band umbrella, it's not surprising that critics are often harsh in their assessment of such acts.

But Dorough feels that the Backstreet Boys have lived to prove their critics wrong.

"We've gone through all the ups and downs . . . (but) we're still making music for our fans," Dorough says. "We're still touring around the world . . . and selling out arenas. We've made a mark and I feel like we've proven a lot of the critics wrong

"We've always prided ourselves on making music that's not just bubble gum pop corny. Hopefully, it's timeless."

For a long time the Backstreet Boys have felt like "the last band standing" from their era, Dorough says. But these days he definitely gets the sense that a boy band resurgence is afoot.

"(The New Kids On The Block) are all great guys and I'm glad to see they're coming back," he says. "The Jonas Brothers, they're reminiscent of what I remember when we first started out with the young audiences and all that hysteria.

"I feel there's room of all of us out there. We're all helping each other, keeping the pop world going."

SOURCE : Incomplete Men

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PostSubject: Re: The boys are back   The boys are back Icon_minitimeWed 10 Sep - 19:08

Merci. Very Happy
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