The Rundown: Boy Bands Of The ‘90s And ’00s

Catchy pop tracks that are easy to take in, age well in a nostalgic way and are infinitely danceable – whether you’re clowning or legitimately breaking out the choreographed routine from the video in an attempt to win an airband competition in college; what’s not to like?

So earlier in the week, Entertainment Weekly dropped their list of the Best Boy Bands of the ‘90s and ‘00s and me being me, I rolled through it and instantly decided I needed to drop my version of their list here because (1) in no world should O-Town be ranked No. 6 on such a list and (2) there were a couple acts on there that I’m not quite sure anyone really looked at as “boy bands” at the time.

Example 1: Did anyone think CrazyTown (read: the guys that did “Butterfly”) were a boy band? Example 2: Calling New Edition one of the best boy bands of the ‘90s and ‘00s is a sham because (a) they were at their best in the ‘80s and (b) they were grown-ass men when they released Home Again in 1996.

So here’s my list. Please enjoy.

*NSYNC

One of several obvious choices for this list, it’s kind of a shame that the group has been absolutely dwarfed by how massive Justin Timberlake has become since rolling out because in their heyday, they were massive and a great pop act. Key tracks: Bye Bye Bye, Gone, I Want You Back

Backstreet Boys

Another natural selection for this list, they showed up in North America a little earlier than *NSYNC and were insanely popular, plus they had the added bonus of never having anyone branch out to tremendous solo success. Laugh all you want, they had a four-album run that was amongst the best of any group during this timeframe. Key tracks: I Want It That Way, All I Have to Give, Quit Playing Games

New Kids on the Block

The precursors to the first two groups listed here, NKOTB sneaks into this list by releasing Step By Step in 1990, which had a lot of hype, delivered a smash single, but really came up short compared to their previous two albums. They also released No More Games in 1991, but it’s better that we don’t talk about that album. Key Tracks: Step By Step, Hangin’ Tough, You Got It

Take That

A crazy omission from EW’s list earlier in the week, there is no way to do this list without including the band that gave us “I Want You Back” and ultimately unleashed Robbie Williams into the world. Take That was the UK version of *NSYNC, with 28 Top 40 singles and one member (Williams) who went on to be one of the biggest artists going for a long, long time. Key Tracks: It Only Takes a Minute, Back for Good, How Deep Is Your Love

Boyz II Men

Yeah, when you’re connected to three of the longest reigning No. 1 songs in Billboard history, you’re making this list. Their three-album run to start their career was huge and produced some monster hits that hold up to this day. Key Tracks: Motownphilly, It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, End of the Road

Color Me Badd

Listen – I didn’t say all the acts on this list were going to be all-stars. The truth of the matter is that for about a year, CMB was huge, including getting a guest spot in a Beverley Hills 90210 episode. Key Tracks: I Wanna Sex You Up, All 4 Love, I Adore Mi Amor

LFO

Don’t front: you know all the words to “Summer Girls.” At the very least, you know the chorus and bumped it in your car with the windows down the summer it came out like the rest of us. A couple more decent singles followed, but nothing that every matched their radio classic debut. R.I.P. Rich Cronin. Key Tracks: Summer Girls, Girl on TV, Every Other Time

112

The young R&B act from Bad Boy Records, these fellas burst out of the gate with their first single, “Only You,” which was everywhere in the summer of 1996 and continued having solid success for the next five years. Honestly, they probably should have had an even better run, but it wasn’t meant to be. Key Tracks: Only You, Dance With Me, Peaches and Cream

98 Degrees

Nick Lachey became a bit of a punchline for a while with his constant presence on reality TV, but there is no denying that this group – which featured Lachey, his brother Drew, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre – had a nice little run, collecting eight Top 40 hits and selling more than 10 million records. Key Tracks: Invisible Man, The Hardest Thing, Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)

Hanson

Before you laugh that the kids that gave the world “MMMBop” made this list, consider this: unlike a lot of the acts on this list, they’re still making music together and have been this whole time, growing up and becoming a solid little indie act. Key Tracks: MMMBop, If Only, Penny & Me

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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