An Ode To 90s Pop

Around a year ago or so, ‘N Sync performed on stage with Justin Timberlake at MTV’s Video Music Awards, and I presume that many traveled back in time for a few minutes, recalling this slice of pop history. For those of us who grew up in the 90’s, the pop music scene was bubble gum and cherry popsicles. It was orange sunsets and swirly lollipops – the lollipops that are the size of our faces.
While our parents’ generation may exude nostalgia and fondness for the music of their time, I feel similar pangs for 90’s pop. The boy bands, the girl power, the obsessive fandom. True-blue fans will tell you that it was a decade to be romanticized and glorified; it sent forth music that will always be a part of us.
Without a doubt, the 90’s have my heart.

My preteen self kept ‘musical diaries’; I’d ramble on about how ‘N Sync’s version of “Sailing” would make my eyes water, and how I always wanted to listen to it whenever I was riding in the car, moving across state lines.

When the No Strings Attached album was initially released, I somehow felt touched by “This I Promise You,” even though I couldn’t really relate to its narrative, or any romantic relationship, for that matter.

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“I Want It That Way” transcended boy band rivalry and united everyone, regardless of personal preferences. Tell me why, ain’t nothing but a heartache…

MILLENNIUM by the Backstreet Boys /
MILLENNIUM by the Backstreet Boys /

I made feeble attempts to choreograph a dance to “Bye Bye Bye” for a show that was to take place in the school yard, after 3pm. I don’t remember this actually panning out, with a live audience and all, but the effort was there. For those five guys? Anything.

And Christmas at my aunt’s had to incorporate the ‘N Sync holiday album — their harmonies went down as smooth as the eggnog, cinnamon included for added sweetness. Their voices blended into the background while we gazed at the crackling fireplace and the pretty little lights on the tree.

It wasn’t just the songs that paved the way for evident emotional attachment, but the lives of the people singing these songs too. I was invested in their lives.

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I felt like I knew them. I’d memorize their birthdays and their go-to snacks. I reveled in Carson Daly’s TRL top ten music video countdown. I recorded talk show interviews and behind-the-scenes footage to watch over and over again. I’d inhale their personalities and listen to their thoughts. You could say a quasi-connection was established – on the surface, of course. And it was kind of nice. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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