Archive for the ‘Boy Bands’ Category

Now that it’s 2019, and New Year resolutions are on the rise, here’s a guide on how to curate the ultimate workout soundtrack.

1. Go Techno

Whether it’s classic DJ beats, techno, drum ‘n bass, or newer age Calvin Harris-infused tracks, pick your poison. They’re all designed to make work out harder, faster and better.

2. Feel Nostalgic

Pick a song that takes you back, that you know all the words to, that makes you feel good, confident, and like you have a friend alongside with you. Then, run with it (no pun intended.)

3. Guilty Pleasures

When you’re working out, it’s you and your headphones, so be free, have fun, and laugh at yourself a little. You can go Bieber, Britney, Backstreet, or even this gem here (don’t judge.)

4. Choose Reggaeton

Reggaeton is a combination of hip-hop, Latin beats, and dance. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to the sensual Spanish lyrics and hypnotic rhythms.

5. Be Bhangra

Bhangra is high energy, drum heavy, feel-good music from northern India. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, you will undoubtedly keep you moving forward.

6. Michael Jackson

Every workout playlist MUST include a Michael Jackson track. Period.

7. Seek Therapy

At the end of a long, difficult, frustrating, craptastic day, sometimes you just want to get mad. Take that energy, and sweat it all out (while listening to these guys scream of course.)

8. Flavour of the Week

Add the song that you’ve had on repeat most recently, that you just can’t get enough of, because it’s catchy and sure to motivate you.

9. Podcasts

For those lighter, stretching kind of work outs (or whatever suits you,) try a podcast. It’s like listening to a couple of friends shoot the shit, and definitely helps the time fly by.

10. Beyoncé

Every workout playlist MUST include a Beyoncé track. Period.

11. Reggae

I’m talking anything from Bob Marley, to Beenie Man, to Sean Paul (but mostly Sean Paul.) You’ll have trouble keeping still, and will be forced to move faster.

12. 90s Hip-Hop

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 90s hip-hop is the ultimate hip-hop of of all time, and the perfect workout music.

13. Get Lost

If you like to disappear in your head, try indie music. It’ll entrance you with your deepest emotions, and innermost thoughts; all the while letting you continue your workout.

 

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2019 is just around the corner (sigh) so let’s recap the best and the worst of 2018, musically speaking. (Disclaimer: as always, the selections are based solely on my opinion, and I have not listened to every single album/song that was released this year. I’m only human.)

Best Newcomer  – Greta van Fleet

With these guys around, rock ‘n roll will never die.

Best Live Show – The Killers

Blew me away, once again.

Worst Grunge Comeback – Smashing Pumpkins

Almost every member of the original band reunited to release Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. They shouldn’t have.

Best Collaboration Album – Everything is Love by The Carters (ie Beyoncé & Jay-Z)

This album puts both wife and husband on the same playing field, and finally admits that Queen Bey is actually the boss.

Worst Collaboration Album –  44/876 by Sting & Shaggy

Whose idea was this? Why was this? But mostly, can this never happen again?

Sexiest Sex Symbol – Maluma

That hair, that half smile, that sense of style, that Spanish: impossible to resist.

Best Boy Band Track – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Backstreet Boys

BSB are the OG boy band. They will always win.

Worst Boy Band Track – “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B

So Maroon 5 isn’t technically a boy band, but close enough. Adam Levine’s voice is whiny (as usual), and as hard as this song is trying to say something, it isn’t.

Best Young Artist – Troye Sivan

At only 23, Sivan’s music has the wisdom, introspection and maturity of someone who’s been around a lot longer.

Worst Young Artist – Lil Xan

At only 22, Lil Xan has managed to make some of the worst music ever, and really should just stop.

Best Rap Track – “Mogambo” by Riz MC

Is there anything Riz MC can’t do? No, no there isn’t.

Worst Rap Track- “Chun-Li” by Nicki Minaj

Is anyone else kind of tired of Nicki?

Best Diss Track – “The Story of Adidon” by Pusha T

The feud between Drake and Pusha T got so heated, Pusha used a diss track to reveal Drake had a son.

Worst Diss Track – “Rap Devil” by Machine Gun Kelly

I don’t understand why this no-name wanna be rapper even tried to take on Eminem.

Most Irrelevant Rap Beef – Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent

Ja and 50 win this one because in 2018, nobody cares about either of them. At all.

Best Break-Up Song – “Thank You, Next” by Ariana Grande

Grande takes the higher road here, appreciating everything she learned from past mistakes, instead of hating, blaming and shaming.

Worst Break-Up Song – “Without Me” by Halsey

She quotes Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River”, and makes it part of the track. Huh?

Best Reggaeton Track – “Te Bote” by Casper, Nio García, Darell, Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, Ozuna

Instant classic.

Worst Collaboration Track – “Havana” by Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug

I just can’t with this song. Nothing original about it, and the extra “na-na-nas” are an earworm no one ever asked for.

Best Collaboration Track – “Nina Cried Power” by Hozier feat. Mavis Staples

All soul, all power, all goosebumps.

Best Video of the Year – “This is America” by Childish Gambino

Was there any other choice?

Worst Video of the Year – “Happier” by Marshmello feat. Bastille

Just to be clear: I love this song. But as a new dog lover, it’s emotionally manipulative, and I’m not here for it. It’s supposed to have a happy ending, but my tears are all sad ones.

Best Drake Song – “Nice for What”

Drake puts the spotlight on strong females, so this track wins.

Worst Drake Song – “In My Feelings”

When a song goes this viral, it should never be played again.

Toughest Musician Death – Dolores O’Riordan 

For me personally, O’Riordan’s was the hardest to handle. Too many memories, and I’m still not over it.

Best Indie Track – “Hymnostic” by Big Red Machine

Anything Justice Vernon (of Bon Iver fame) produces is the most beautiful, eloquent, wonderful, ethereal, musical experience. No exception here.

Worst Indie Track – “Four Out of Five” by Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys went from solid Brit rock, to jazzy elevator music on this track (and the entire album – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.) I just couldn’t love it.

Best Slow Jam – “With You” by Mariah Carey

Mimi will always win at slow jams.

Best Soundtrack – Suspiria

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke wrote and performed all the music on this soundtrack, and therefore nothing else can compete.

Best R&B Album – Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

Start to finish, front to back, this album will electrify you in all the best ways.

Worst Album of the Year – Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake

I have no idea what this album was: is he trying to convince us he’s a down to Earth lumberjack? That he’s low maintenance? That he lives in the woods? So many questions, not enough answers.

Album of the Year – High as Hope by Florence + the Machine

It’s no secret I’m a little obsessed with Florence + the Machine, but it’s hard not to be when every new album they release is completely different than their last, but equally impressive.

Worst Song of the Year – “No Brainer” by DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo & Chance the Rapper.

Didn’t this song already happen? (see “The One”)

Song of the Year – “Miracles” by Chvrches

Play it once, and you’ll have it on repeat for days.

Backstreet Boys first came onto the music scene back in 1996, with their self-titled debut album. A friend of mine came back to school after summer holidays, and told me about this new boy band that was already super famous in Europe. The second I heard “Get Down (You’re the One for Me)” I was hooked: it was so damn catchy and fun. The music video (because back then, music videos were a huge thing,) was so futuristic, the seamless choreography, and the red/yellow/orange outfits popped out of the screen.

Thus began my secret obsession with this cheesy boy band. Whenever I picked up a teeny bopper magazine – shout out to Tiger Beat – they were everywhere. They had TV specials, live interviews/performances, and their videos were on constant rotation. I blame (commend?) their marketing team for somehow convincing their fans to want to know anything and everything about BSB, including who preferred boxers over briefs. I was addicted to them and their music. Something about 5 attractive young guys, singing love songs and dancing, would make any teenage girl’s heart flutter (or was it just me?)

My infatuation with BSB probably hit its peak around the time of the release of their 2nd album, 1997’s Backstreet’s Back. By then, I had a fully loaded boombox in my room – 2 tape decks and a CD player. As soon as I’d get home, I’d run up to my room, and hit play, while keeping the volume low, of course, or using headphones. At this point, 2 things were clear to me: Brian was my favourite (duh!) and this final dance sequence is/was BSB at their best.

The 90s were my most formative years in many ways, but specifically in terms of my musical inclinations. So when I started listening to BSB, it wasn’t something I readily admitted. The 90s were the height of boy/girl bands and the resurrection of pop. But it was also the decade of the birth of grunge music, where rock and alternative were at the forefront. And that’s where I lived, the music I breathed. So how was I supposed to reconcile being a fan of BSB? It made no actual sense, but I just couldn’t stay away. I was a sucker for the synchronized dance moves, romantic lyrics, and their epic music videos. I watched this one so many times, the chair sequence was practically etched in my brain.

I eventually found a way to have them in my life, without acknowledging they were in my life – I had a musical reputation to uphold, after all. In public, I only listened to them on my Discman. I pretended not to care about their music, and acted like I didn’t know anything about them, or every single word to all of their singles. But I was just as devastated as everyone when Kevin decided to leave the group, and also managed to stay awake for the midnight premier of this video, off 1999’s Millennium.

My secret admiration faded after the release of Black & Blue in 2000, which also coincided with me starting University, therefore making me too cool and too old to still be a fan – even if only a closeted one. Plus, I it seemed like their formulaic music was outdated, and I lost interest. Over the next few years, they continued to release albums, continued to tour as headliners, and co-headliners (with New Kids on the Block,) and Nick Carter starred in a reality show featuring his family. In 2017, they became a resident act at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood, in an aptly titled show: Larger than Life.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, my inner fangirl made me buy tickets to see BSB. The seats were filled with now-middle aged women, who all once had the experience of being a teenage BSB fan. As expected, they did not disappoint. They played each and every hit single, and all the ones I’d forgotten about.

In that 2 hours, I relived my youth. I took a step out of real life to dance and sing, still knowing every lyric. Their age did show a little, but can you blame them? They’ve been at this game for 25 years, starting as early as 12 years old. Imagine having the same career with the same co-workers for 25 years. Imagine how much life you’ve been through together, how many experiences. It’s no wonder BSB are still at it.

In this day and age, pop music isn’t what it used to be. Seeing BSB live was a flashback to a different time, a different world, a different state of mind. It was freeing, fun, and I left smiling ear to ear (with an overpriced concert tee.) In a world that sucks a lot of the time, it’s a welcome change to feel like a kid again, and reminded me why it’s so important to seek out the little joys in life. It also solidified for me that I am, always have been, and forever will be a BSB fan. Check them out on tour next year in support of their new album, DNA.