By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
The late '90s were, in many ways, a musical wasteland, at least above-ground. Rock and roll was dormant thanks to the spectacular death of grunge, and hip-hop was in a weird transitionary period. The dance music that broke into the mainstream was usually a scary brand of commercialized trance. Thanks to all this flux, teen pop was, again, able to rise to the top, and a scourge of misspelled, prefab groups were suddenly everywhere. At the top of the heap, though, were 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. And even if you didn't like the entire Colgate-smile culture, you at least had to admit these two groups did it the biggest and the best.
The '00s, though, were rather unkind to most of these boy band alums (save for Justin Timberlake, the scene's crown prince graduate). Still, enough time has passed that we're allowed some nostalgia; onetime teen pop fans are old enough to not be ashamed anymore, and to spend some discretionary dollars on comeback tours. Enter the Backstreet Boys, who long ago morphed into men, but are still beloved by a hard-core following of mostly female late 20-somethings.
After a hiatus and a return as a four-piece (Kevin Richardson quit the band in 2006), the Boys released a comeback album, Unbreakable, in 2007. It debuted at an impressive number seven on the Billboard Hot 200, and a series of well-received tours have followed continuously in the years since. The current outing sees the group celebrating two recent releases, a late-2009 studio album, This Is Us, and a January 2010 greatest-hits compilation. As such, fans can expect a healthy dose of both old and new.