Sunday, June 24, 2018

A break from Reality but not the Backstreet Boys

This past weekend, I listened to nothing but the Backstreet Boys. Before you start questioning my coolness, please be aware that I was a teen of the late '90's/early 2000's and my musical tastes grew from that era. It's not often that I listen to boy bands and the like but as I headed to Vermont for the Wanderlust Festival, I just had a hankering for some BSB... so I fired up my google play and just let it go nuts on their catalog.

You'd think I would have switched to something else once I tired of BSB but it was actually quite the contrary. I spent A LOT of time reflecting as I listened to songs from every album, shuffling at Google Play's will. When I first started listening to their music, I was what like 13 years old (don't do the math please) and I can vividly remember each albums cover and songs that bring me back to a moment or moments in time (except the entire album I missed in 2009 because I was busy being a bad BSB fan) sharing a lot of this love with my sister. I have grown up with their music and really, I can't say that *Nsync or 98 Degrees or any of the others have been along for the entire ride... OK, so why am I spending my time writing a blog post about the Backstreet Boys and have I no shame? Short answer, I don't know but I am putting it here because I had a lot of time to think this past weekend and for some reason, the spark was a boy band.

I was excited for some time away for various reasons, but mostly, I wanted to turn off the bad news for a couple of days because I have literally felt it tearing me up inside, feeling helpless and distraught... it turns out that Vermont is the perfect place to find some peace... Y'all, I listened to 93 Backstreet Boys songs on my trip and it was most certainly unplanned. Did you know there were that many? If you would have asked me I would have guessed they didn't have more than 50 but I just let that list play every time I got in the car and even when I got back home, until google would give me no more songs... I seriously think that I took some refuge in this music as I drove and drove and drove, being jolted back to happy memories, remembering songs I had forgotten, B sides, laughing at some of the ridiculous lyrics but allowing myself to really enjoy the music that I love, whether you think it's cool or not.

What was once music that a 13 year old listened to, I was now listening with 35 year old ears (OK well now the cat's outta the bag). Any girls of my age can relate to the boy band era and how we were engrossed with our "favorites" (mine has always been Kevin, sorry not sorry), planning our next concert (I can remember waiting in line at ticketmaster that's how old I am), swooning at sappy lyrics... and as I listened to these songs, I let myself feel that shit. As the shuffle hopped around to different albums I also equated them to different times in my life.  I was able to reflect, uninterrupted, on the past 20 years of my life, geesh... are you still with me here?

I thought about complex relationships, both mine and the men of the Backstreet Boys (I know, I know) and how life can just throw some crazy stuff at you. What was the reason that Nick didn't sing on the track "The Perfect Fan" from Millenium (1999) which was dedicated to their Moms? Was their relationship that strained? It made me sad to think about... I remember watching the guys on Oprah when they were on her show to support AJ in rehab and recovery and at the time didn't appreciate the kind of relationships that they must have had to get them through that kind of tumultuous time. What must those relationships have looked like? Kevin left the band but then returned and there isn't any of that *Nsync level BS imho. And also, I feel like Howie did not get the love he deserved all these years... that man has kind eyes and that counts for a lot. ... as a kid, these were just hot guys singing in a haunted house about being "back" (I still don't know where they went) but as an adult, it is most definitely a different listening experience.

I thought of riding in the car with my Mom and sisters in High school, literally forcing that poor woman to listen to Millenium more times then she ever probably would have wanted to... but she did it and it made me think of all the things my Mom has done for us over the years that I just didn't appreciate in the moment and have probably forgotten about... but perhaps my Mom secretly liked BSB? We'll never know because I could ask her now and she will have no idea what I'm talking about. I thought of their most recent album In a World Like This (2013) and how I listened to it in its entirety a couple times through while I was driving for business, while also pregnant with Wesley, and it amazed me that I could listen to this group in two totally different times in my life and appreciate them at both stages.

Anyways, I could go on for hours and really, I can't remember all the deep thoughts (and I mean, legit deep thoughts) I had while on my BSB VT Trek, a lot of which had nothing to do with the music, but after a zen couple days of yoga and the good stuff that happens when you have some time to yourself and all the BSB there was to offer, I really think that I was able to have a valuable self check in... Maybe I will do this again in a few BSB albums because with any luck, we are not at the end of this road together. And if you were wondering, I listened to the album I missed, This Is Us (2009), because like an old friend, I made sure to catch up.

For your listening pleasure, a spotify playlist with my favorites (which took forever) but I tried to choose something from every era, please listen and enjoy and you don't have to tell anyone or tell everyone because the Backstreet Boys are fantastic, whatever!

As a note: I feel like I have been at an elevated level of emotion, especially recently, and perhaps that contributed to this reflection on a youngish adult life lived (so far) via the discology de Backstreet Boys. You can think that this blog post stinks of cheese but I don't care. I am going to be who I want to be and listen to what I want to and raise the best humans possible who dance and laugh and love because damnit, this life is absolutely too f*&%ing short to do anything otherwise... and now that I have gotten this off my chest and heart, I am headed off to make some t-shirts for my family's protest on Saturday because I certainly recharged my batteries and am ready to be the good again.

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