Volume 92, Issue 22

Wednesday, October 14, 1998

in living colour


Backstreet's back alright

No matter where I go, I seem to be surrounded by self-proclaimed music experts who can talk for hours about their bands and artists of choice. Inevitably, the conversation will turn to me. "So, what kind of music do you listen to?"

I can't count the number of times I've been asked this question and my answer always elicits the same kind of response – a condescending look of dissatisfaction. Apparently, the answer, "I like a bit of everything," categorizes me as someone who doesn't know enough about music to form a solid opinion.

After I receive such a look, I challenge the disbeliever to a look at my CD collection. From Massive Attack to Madonna, it's all there. There's representation from almost every genre to hit a recording studio – with the exception of country. Just can't do it. But I am always selective – my purchases are well thought out.

Generally, Top 40 teeny bopper bands have never been my thing. Even at the height of their popularity, my hard-earned babysitting dollar was never spent on New Kids paraphernalia. That kind of mediated cookie-cutter pop simply never did anything for me. So whenever the topic of conversation turned to the Backstreet Boys, I instinctively slammed them as the pretty boy no-talents which they are. Right?

However, when the latest release would come on the radio in my car, I would roll up my windows and listen. Sometimes I'd even catch myself tapping the wheel. Soon I was perched in front of the TV, watching the MuchMusic Backstreet Bonanza and loving every minute.

So they're cheesy, they cater to the 12-year-old insecure girl market and their bare-chested videos aren't exactly cinematic art. But what the Backstreet Boys have underlying their choice of marketing is actual talent.

When singing a cappella they can hold their own as trained voices connecting in harmony, even if the lyrics aren't groundbreaking. Compare this to other teen groups like the Spice Girls, whose five members need back-up singers when playing live.

So this is me coming out of the Backstreet closet. I'm tired of suffocating in my unair-conditioned vehicle just so I can sing along to "Backstreet's Back." Alright!

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998