Backstreet Boys | Back as Men

Kevin was my future boyfriend but he just didn’t know it.


Summertime for me was vacation time. School was out and I was absolutely free to do whatever I wanted to do—well, what my mother wanted me to do between summer camp and music camp. So this particular summer of my completion of fourth grade in 1998 I went to Lawrenceville, Ga., to visit my uncle, aunt, and cousins. Talk about a summer of discovery: We watched MTV from sun up to sun down.

At this point of my life, I must admit, I was not extremely cultured in music. I loved R&B, blues, jazz, and gospel, but pop just had made its mark on me. So when the haunted house-esque video began with its creepy organ and I heard, “Everybody, rock your body/ Everybody, rock your body right/ Backstreet’s back, alright,” my first thought was, “What is this crap?” I was not receptive until, days later, I found myself mimicking their moves with my cousins.
When I came home a month later, I was totally into Backstreet Boys. Kevin was my future boyfriend but he just didn’t know it. I must have sung “As Long as You Love Me” to his poster numerous times. “I don’t care who you are/ where you’re from/ (don’t care) what you did as long as you love me.”
Millennium had me hooked. My cousins sent me the album, and “I Want It That Way” and “Larger Than Life” quickly became my theme songs. I was dancing around the house, singing to the top of my lungs. Brian was amazing on the vocals. It was the first time I had experienced pop in my own element, and I loved it.
I recognized then that my love for music was blanketing; it was not only limited to those who checked the ethnic box that I identified with, but it was cross-cultural. There vocals were good, not as soulful as I had been used to, but definitely great harmonies, a variety of tones and an equal share of the spotlight.
Outside of their talent, I felt like every song beamed with appreciation for me, the fan. As I listen to “Larger than Life” with less boy-crazed ears, I can see that they understood that without us there is no them.
If you’ve never listened to this album, check it out. The songs are so sincere and filled with timeless emotion; not only that, but it solidifies their brown suga status. “Back to Your Heart” was it for me. It was a love letter to the girl they need a second chance with: “It’s not that I can’t live without you, it’s just that I don’t even want to try/ every night I dream about you ever since the day we said goodbye/ if I wasn’t such a fool right now I’d be holding you/ it’s nothing that I wouldn’t do baby, if I only knew the words I say/ the road to take to find a way back to your heart.”
Ahhh! The emotions were so deep and compelling that I wanted to give my non-existent boyfriend a second chance. Backstreet Boys knew exactly how to pull on my heart strings and I didn’t mind at all.
At first, I wasn’t sold on their next album, Black and Blue. Still, “Shape of My Heart” almost made me want to. Their subsequent greatest hits album just combined all the greatness of the first two albums.
Then Kevin decided to move on and the group just wasn’t the same. Everyone split and started doing solo projects, but they reunited to produce Never Gone, which displays so much maturity and different sound. Its leading track, “Incomplete” reminds me of Backstreet’s “it” factor, their ability to be the poster children for heartbreak and second chances. Let’s face it: this is not a bad M.O. at all, because I and all of the women of the world can appreciate a man who is not afraid to convey his emotions, no matter how unmanly.
This year, BSB are back, touring with New Kids on the Block. Thank you, Backstreet Boys, for growing with your audience, going from emotion-filled boys to married, mature men who are in sync and comfortable with love, and its woes and excitement. You are greatly appreciated and forever cemented in my heart.
I’ve shared my love affair now I want you to share yours. Email me at and tell me your story of how you fell in love with music.

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