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98 degrees of nostalgia


nostalgia 2 finalI watched the Super Bowl for the first time in years earlier this month. I held on through the blackout and continued to watch even though the Clydesdales commercial had already played. Why? Because Destiny’s Child is back and it took me the entirety of the game to fully process it.

The Super Bowl or, as it is more often referred to, the Beyonce concert, was the epitome of showmanship, the spectacle of a lifetime for fans and the work of a true superstar.  Transporting Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams back to relevance by involving them in the show was a favor that only Beyonce could give, but 1990s children across the world are eternally grateful to her for it.

Destiny’s Child is just one of many bands from the late 1990s and early 2000s to announce reunions recently.  New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men will be touring together as part of “The Package Tour” this summer, as well. The Backstreet Boys, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this April (need a second to take that in?) will be releasing their new album and beginning a world tour in honor of the milestone.

The little Lisa Frank, Furby, Macarena-loving hearts can now settle knowing that their youths are still alive and well. But what if our 8-year-old selves set expectations so high for these musicians that their new music has no option but to pale in comparison? Could Destiny’s Child really produce another “Say My Name?” Are the Backstreet Boys still swoon-worthy while telling us to quit playing games with their hearts?

We’ve gotten older and they have, too. Clearly it’s not affecting Beyonce, but the rest of the pool has yet to be appropriately measured on the “Are you too old for this?” scale.  Should these artists just be immortalized in our minds as what our dreams were made of as children? Should they be a distant memory untarnished by the modernity of extreme Auto-Tune and techno beats?

Personally, I want to remember The Backstreet Boys as wearing unflattering puff jackets and neon-striped shirts. I want to remember Destiny’s Child as three girls who seemed legitimately concerned about the bills, bills, bills and not Beyonce and her backup dancers.

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and these groups will change the music industry once again, reverting audiences back to the “good old days” of Total Request Live and cassette tapes. Maybe they will overpower the Ke$has and the One Directions with their experience. Maybe the entire dynamic of that period will reinvent itself. There’s still only one thing missing, though.

Your move, Justin Timberlake.

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