I have never lied or tried to hide the fact that I have been a Backstreet Boys fan since I was 11 or 12 years old. It all started with Get Down and, in a way, I’m still a fan. I think I’ll always be, but especially over the past 1,5 year or so, my BSB fandom has been withering.
BSB Live @ Atlantic City 2008
Backstreet Boys?! Aren’t those the I-Want-It-That-Way-As-Long-As-You-Love-Me singing dudes with hits in the 90s? Huh? Didn’t they split up years ago? Let me first clear this up: no they never split up and they are still making albums and embarking on worldwide tours. Especially South America and Asia are places where Backstreet Boys is still a name that gets girls squealing. They still do in Europe and the US as well, but not as much as they used to. Pretty much, those who are still fans find each other on online fora and that’s where their fan base now resides. The Internet is the main reason why they still even have a career and a fan base to speak of if you ask me.
My decline in fandom has several reasons. The main one being that I have a severe dislike for their latest album: This is Us. I literally like one song on the entire CD and that’s it. So musically they’ve been a major let down. Another factor is of course that you grow up. To be frank, I simply don’t have the time or interest to squeal like a school girl every time they appear on TV or the radio plays their songs. Nor do I have the time to invest in hanging out on forums to meet people. The major forums I used to visit a few years ago were NLY and DLS, which both closed about 3 years ago. I switched to LD, but that got closed a while ago as well and I simply don’t have the energy to build up new online relationships with other fans.
In my case, online forums were a great opportunity to meet new people and there was always this handy thing called Backstreet Boys that ensured you always had something to talk about. So, despite my not really being into BSB anymore, it did bring me lots of good stuff in that I met tons of people who I’d never met if it hadn’t been for BSB. With that said, however, I do think that in a way the only reason why I have been a fan for such a long time, is because I was meeting all these cool people, rather than that I was actually still into the band.
As much as the online BSB world has provided with me with some great friendships, the one thing I won’t miss about going online every day is the drama. I used to be a moderator on both NLY and DLS and I dealt with tons of drama. Again, I don’t have the time to get into online hissy fits over who is cuter, whether they really aren’t secretly married and how long they have been sober after they hit rehab several times.
Another thing that has definitely affected my joy of being a fan is the fact that the online drama sometimes pours over into your real life. I simply don’t feel like dealing with crying, pushing fans who would start a cat fight over the littlest things. This is something that usually happens when waiting outside of hotels or concerts. What I can do without are the cat fights, the arrogance, the rumors, the negativity towards others, the fact that people only care about themselves, the shallowness, the lying, the ignorance, the stalkerish behavior, and the rivalry. It pretty much boils down to this: for every cool person I met, I met another 5 people who I’d never want to be bothered with in return.
Last but not least, I am getting a bit tired of the boys themselves. After almost 15 years, it’s time for something new. Like a new punch line (Brian’s Backstreet’s Back ALRIGHT, anyone?) and also an acceptance that it isn’t 1999 anymore. I mean, yes, in 1999 it was all fine and dandy to be singing on a stage while dancing your butt off, but it’s not like they’re getting any younger and their power doesn’t exactly lie in their dancing skills. I enjoyed the 2008/2009 Unbreakable a lot more than the 2009/2010 This is Us tour, simply because they weren’t dancing as much and because they actually took time to sing. Because that’s what they are and what they are good at and the main reason why I ever liked them: their singing. So my advice would be: skip the dance moves and just do what you’re good at!
Don’t get me wrong. I still like them, but only to a certain extent. It’s been too big a part of my life to just be chucking it all away. In the end I think, that there will always be a part of me that will be a BSB fan. Will I be excited when they release a new record? Yes, but I will be skeptical. Will I buy the new album? Sure will, but I probably won’t play it much. Will I want to go to their concerts on a new tour? Yes, but I won’t camp out anymore and I will only go to a concert abroad if it is easy to get to and on a weekend. No more skipping classes, no more camping out even though I’m sick and no more crazy constructions to go see them.
And this leads me to the reason that may actually be most important why I am ‘over’ BSB. When I was 12, I would have given a limb to even go to a concert, let alone meet them. By now, I’ve seen multiple concerts on the past 3 tours in multiple countries. I have met them, during soundchecks, but also outside their hotel and even better: I have proof that I have. Those were the goals I wanted to achieve when I was younger, and I have achieved all of them. I have reached my goals. There is simply no longer a challenge in it. I’ve literally done all that I have dreamed of. At this point I feel that if I would want ‘more’ it would also mean that I would have to try to get to know them better, as in on a more personal basis. And you know what? I don’t want that. Because I don’t even want to begin to find out what these guys are really like. I’d rather have them be the Brian, Nick, AJ and Howie I imagine them to be, than who they really are. It’s why they’re idols, and the minute you get to know them better, they become regular people, and that’s the one thing I don’t want. I want to be able to be put them on a pedestal till I’m old and gray and remember the good and crazy times I had through it all.
Feel free to disagree, but this is just how I feel about things. And just to show you how much of a good time I had: some shots of me with the boys at several occasions in 2008 & 2009.
Nick Carter & myself @ The London NY in New York City, August 2008
VIP @ Atlantic City, NJ, August 2008
AJ McLean & myself @ Soundcheck, Paradiso, Amsterdam, May 2008
BSB & myself @ VIP Ahoy, Rotterda, November 2009
Do you, or did you have an idol? What is it that you like/ liked about him/her/them?