My friend Karen Datangel, in a profile of the Backstreet Boys for The Hudsucker:
In the mid to late 90s to early 2000s, one could not avoid the images of these guys’ transformations into iconic monsters and leading a group in a flash mob-type setting before the term flash mob was even invented in the “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” music video, or hearing the ultra-catchy and sweet pop hooks of “I Want It That Way” on the radio. Their record sales were off the charts, their concerts sold out in minutes, and they always made the talk show and variety show rounds—and their music videos were always in the rotation back when MTV actually played music videos.
My freshman year of high school began in 1996, so I remember the Boys in their heyday.
Reading this piece made me feel really old in context — mind you, I'll only turn 32 next month. But the memories I have of the boy band craze and MTV actually playing music videos are reminders that I'm getting older. A record store where you could buy the new Backstreet Boys album seems like a foreign, archaic concept now, but I remember those days well. Now, iTunes and Rdio rule the day.