Top 10 Boy Band Songs

By Ashley Berger

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As a product of the 90’s, I think it is imperative that I blog about one defining aspect of the decade. This aspect is a shared cultural memory that essentially helped define our generation. This aspect: boy bands.

Some may question my current mental state, but let’s face facts here. From about 1997 – 2002, one could not turn on the radio without being bombarded by images, songs, and movies featuring these teenage dreamboats. This blog will time-machine us back into that era and replay (arguably) the 10 best boy-band tunes of those glory days.

1. “Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart” – Backstreet Boys

This was the first and biggest hit of BSB’s career in the United States. Released in 1996, it catapulted to the #2 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 thus making it the Boys’ most successful single. The video also featured the Boys frolicking in the rain and playing basketball, which in the 90’s were two of the most attractive male features.

2. “I Want You Back” – NSYNC

I will forever pride myself in being the ultimate BSB fan, some NSYNC songs must make this list. This single was one of the first that would propel NSYNC to become international sex symbols and tear at the heartstrings of many a tween girl. The song peaked on the US charts at 13, but forever remains in fans hearts as closer to number 2.

3. “MMMBop” – Hanson

While Hanson is arguably the most talented boy band of these listed (they’re the only back to make this list that played their own music and wrote their own songs), this song was relatively their only smash hit. Since 1997 at the time of release, Hanson has fallen under the radar, producing less popular and better quality songs. Though 13 years old now, MMMBop is still singing in our hearts, and the brothers are still playing this single at shows.

4. “The Hardest Thing” – 98 Degrees

The least popular and least attractive (with the exception of Nick Lachey)  boy band of the 90’s, 98 Degrees came onto the scene in a steady but sure manner. “The Hardest Thing” was the band’s third single, peaking at #5 on the U.S. charts. A more mature song than our other sweet tarts sang about, the single describes a man in pain because he is being forced to choose between two women that he loves. Though the song describes these boys as players, they still made us swoon and wish that we were one of the two ladies that were in love with.

5. “All or Nothing” – O-Town

I’m cheating on this one because O-Town wasn’t formed until 2000, BUT the general boy-band phenomena applies to them as well. O-Town was the brain child of the ABC TV show “Making the Band”. Released in 2001, “All or Nothing” was a sappy, love ballad giving an ultimatum to a girl who can’t decide what she wants. O-Town only managed to stay together for a few years, but the music scene retained front man Ashley Parker Angel as an MTV reality star and chart topper on his own.

6. “Summer Girls” – LFO

Formed in 1995 in Fall River, this trio sang their way into our hearts with this sugary, summery jam. A lame attempt at a rap and extremely cheesy at points, ‘Summer Girls” remains a favorite of girls. On a side note, I saw LFO as the opening act for Britney Spears circa 1998, and they were an entertaining group. LFO had multiple singles, all focusing on basically unattainable girls, yet all girls singing along to the tune definitely would have enjoyed a summer day with the band.

7. Any Song by New Kids on the Block

They were the original boy band. That’s all.

8. “Bye, Bye, Bye” – NSYNC

I know NSYNC has already been on the list, but one cannot mention that name and not think of this classic hit. From their second album, the single received international success. The music video was also featured on “Darren’s Dance Grooves”, a do-it-yourself music video dance-along, that I admit to owning.

9. “I Want it That Way” – Backstreet Boys

Another insta-hit, this song is arguably the most famous and well-remembered BSB song of all time. It spent most of the year in the top 100 of most mainstream charts and was named #10 in MTV/ Rolling Stones list of “100 Greatest Pop Songs of all Time”. Eleven years later, we still would like it that way.

10. “True to Your Heart” – 98 Degrees

I picked this song based on the fact that it is a duet with Stevie Wonder, which is noble of any boy band to collaborate with such a start that has actual, immense talent. I secondly picked this song based on the fact that it was featured in the Disney movie “Mulan”. These two facts create on of the coolest boy band tunes of the 90’s.

Ashley Berger can be reached at [email protected]