Great Debate

90s vs. modern boy bands

More stories from Deanna Kolell

More stories from Parker Reed


Modern Boy Bands

Boy bands have captured the hearts of pre-teen girls (and their mothers) ever since The Beatles and The Monkees grabbed them by the heartstrings in the mid-1960s. While boy bands have been popular through the years, modern boy bands put ‘90s boy bands to shame.

When comparing groups such as One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer to ‘90s groups like *NSYNC or The Backstreet Boys, there is no competition. 1D just looks too perfect standing there in their flannel shirts and bleach blonde hair.

Modern boy bands’ songs offer a level of depth unheard of in the ‘90s. Songs like “Night Changes” by One Direction and “Jet Black Heart” by 5 Seconds of Summer appeal to listeners on an emotional level. They deal with real issues in young adults’ lives and don’t only generically describe someone’s aesthetic greatness.

Songs like “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by *NSYNC and “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys have the emotional depth of a kiddy pool; lyrics like “Am I your fire, your one desire,” leave me with the same taste in my mouth after I chug a two-liter of generic off-brand soda from the Dollar Tree.

But the music is not even the worst part of ‘90s boy bands. Two words: Frosted tips.

Justin Timberlake, you have a phenomenal voice and you’re incredibly charming. But that hairstyle you rocked in the ‘90s is not what made you beautiful.

Nowadays boy bands are the fashion trendsetters of popular culture, and for good reason. They actually have a respectable sense of fashion.

‘90s boy bands only gave us terrible hair, generic songs and choreographed dance routines.

Modern day boy bands give us deeper songs, musicians who play their own instruments and no frosted tips (thank God). When pondering which era of boy bands is better, look no further than the modern day. Because nobody can drag them down.

— Parker Reed, Sports Editor

‘90s Boy Bands

Newer is not always better — especially when it comes to boy bands.

Simply look at history. Boy bands like The Jackson 5, The Monkees and The Beatles have gone down as some of the most successful and beloved bands of all time.

The sun has set on the golden age of boy bands. The titans of the 1990s and early 2000s gave years of harmonized crooning accompanied by awesome synchronized choreography and immaculate fashion sense.

We all wish we could pull off frosted tips and all-white ensembles, but those rights are reserved for the legends.

Now what do we have to work with? Coiffed hair and skinny jeans.

But enough about their incomparable style. Bands like The Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men and *NSYNC provide something even stronger than their remarkable monetary success: nostalgia.

“I Want It That Way.” “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” “Summer Girls.” These were the songs we grew up with, they were the first tunes on our iPods or Kidz Bop CDs.

Meanwhile, groups like Big Time Rush and the Jonas Brothers have faded away, and One Direction has broken up to pursue solo careers.

Nothing will drag them down — except perhaps their fellow band members.

The ‘90s boy bands will never die; they are immortal. Just look at the supergroup NKOTBSB. Other groups like Blue, 98 Degrees and O-Town have returned with unwavering success, proving their real talent.

We can’t expect the same amount of success from today’s boy bands — who are apparently cesspools of emotion, singing about girls in their underwear, flipping their hair and whose “eyes are doing naughty butterflies.”

Whatever that means.

Comparing ‘90s and modern boy bands is no competition; older is always better. The Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, Westlife, Take That and *NSYNC will continue to reign supreme.

But don’t take my word for it; listen to our playlist and decide for yourself.

— Deanna Kolell, Copy Editor