Here’s Looking At You, Backstreet.

I debated, a lot, about how to ring in the thirtieth anniversary.

With so many things in the mix, do I go big? Do I go small? Nothing really felt right. How do I tackle such a massive milestone in their lives? Honestly, I went back and forth on it. And then, I decided to take a cue from the Boys themselves. Sometimes, there’s something to be said about simply soaking in the joy of making it to this point. And so here I am, writing again. Hopefully not in a ramble but I want this to be true to how I feel, how I hope we all feel.  This one goes out not just to the Boys this year, but the fandom.

Because in the end, this anniversary is about us too.

When I think about where this began for the Boys, it’s sort of odd. We all know the story. (Lord knows I’ve talked about it.) But it was so easy for everything to simply, not work out. Change one thing and it all could’ve been different. If Sam Licata hadn’t left, if Kevin hadn’t called his cousin, if Howie never went back for a “new” audition and Tony Donetti stayed lost, Nick picking the Mickey Mouse club….

So many ways it could’ve gone wrong. Yet it didn’t.

And here we have a group that defeated all the odds. I remember being twelve years old, blasting It’s Gotta Be You 1999 in my living room and driving my poor parents crazy. My dad used to roll his eyes at me and said when I got older I’d woinder why I even liked them. (Years later, before he passed, he laughed when I reminded him of this.) My siblings would roll their eyes at me liking a boyband when they’d see me and tell me I’d grow out of it. I’m sure a lot of you can relate.

Even now, we fans still get a lot of shit, to be honest.

The Boys, they used to be told they weren’t real music. They had to consistently prove themselves over, and over, and over that they were talented. That they weren’t lipsyncing, that what they were was real. Radio, MTV, pop culture, everyone tried to force an expiration date on them. And I suppose after awhile you start wondering if there is one. Sometimes the Boys thought there would be. Sometimes fans did.

never thought when I was that twelve year old girl dancing and singing at the top of her lungs on her parents’ couch that twenty-four years later, I’d be here still doing it. Just you know, not on the couch anymore. At that age, I had no idea this group would be selling out around the world well into my thirties. That they’d be celebrating a true anniversary. You know, the kind where the group never broke up. That thirty years after they formed they’d be coming off a chart topping holiday album and single mere months before. It’s absolutely insanity.

So consider this post a beginning.

Like the Boys, I want to celebrate all year. Listen to their debut, the Red Album, like it’s my very first time. Rewatch the documentary now that it’s been ten years since they filmed it. Look at everything with a fresh set of eyes. Because sometimes, it’s nice to remind yourself just how incredibly special this all is.  Because this is incredible to see them at this point, and damn if I’m going to let anything dictate our joy in all this. Because this is, again, a milestone for all of us. Guys, as a fandom, we’re still here. We made it!

The group is still together. They made it.

There’s so many beautiful memories these five men have gifted us with. Those memories are gifts. The music they’ve given us is timeless and all the emotions that come with those lyrics, melodies and flawless harmonies is something to be grateful for. Each song has weight to it now. Whetrher it’s something like the flash of a memory during a concert, or reminiscing about how we’d race home to see if the music video for that song would be number one on TRL, friends we made through the fandom, online or in person.

I wish I could go back to that twelve year old me and tell her everything that’s to come. That everyone is wrong about one day getting sick of them. I’d let her know everyone is wrong about them not being able to last. They’d be there for many years to come. I’d tell her that yes, your idols are as wonderful as you imagine them to be, and even better because they’re human.

When you look back, so many things have came and went over the past thirty years. But the Backstreet Boys? They’re consistent.

They. Never. Left.

They survived everything that has been thrown at them, at their career. They’ve had some incredible highs other groups can only dream of. They actually enjoy what they do, but also doing it together. That sort of thing is just rare. And so let’s simply bask. Bask in everything that comes with seeing your band make it this damn far.

This is something to be celebrated.

I’m calling for a toast to you Boys. Thank you for all you ever given us, whether you know it or not. Thank you for all lives you’ve touched by perfecting your craft, for the smiles you’ve inspired online and in person. Thank you for the music and all those little moments.

Next, a toast to the fandom. With all the ups and downs, we truly are a family – even if we’re a little dysfunctional at times. We are as one when it counts and when we’re at our best it’s a sight to see. Thank you to everyone who’s been on this journey, no matter when you became a fan or how involved you are. Thank you for being a part of this crazy world.

And finally, a toast to what lies a ahead, where we’ll be likely old and grey but screaming at the Boys during the show even if it means they’re sitting on stools still giving us beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

Happy Anniversary Backstreet Boys
Here’s to the next thirty years.

One thought on “Here’s Looking At You, Backstreet.

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