Fandom Life – “The Youngins”

So once upon a time, in a magical era known as…the 90s, BSB fans were thought of as a group of crazed teenyboppers. Anyone basically born as early as 1984 to about…I’d say 1990 is on the far end of it. Giving us an average fan age of 32 to 26-ish today. Give or take some months. While when BSB were at their peak, we were teens…most articles now describe us as soccer moms. Why? Not sure considering most soccer moms aren’t in their 20s but that’s a whole another rant about how the media is dumb and can’t handle a simple Wikipedia fact check. (If they could, they’d know BSB NEVER BROKE UP.)

Had to get that out of my system. Moving on!

One thing I’ve noticed since twitter has made fandom a completely different universe than when most of us were kids? The Boys still garner new fans. And I’m not even talking about the new generation our age group is raising right into the BSB world. I’m talking about fans who are anywhere from 14 to age 20. Fans, that were babies or toddlers in 1999. Some fans hadn’t even been born yet!

Madness. In a really cool sort of way.

They never got to race home from high school or middle school to watch TRL and pray that all your votes got BSB’s video to beat NSYNC or Britney Spears to the Number One spot on the countdown. They never got to freak out when our Boys were the first in the 90s to break the sales record last set by the Beatles when they sold more than a million albums in the first week Millennium came out. (Or experience the heartbreak when NSYNC broke that record in 2000.) At my work, I was talking with a coworker, only eighteen years old and JUST as hyped up as I was about the Las Vegas Residency Test Run. Then I got excited that she was so excited. Because it’s just cool, okay?

I wanted to know from our younger fans, what it’s like to be one in an “older” fandom.

From Rayanne Tijan:

I’m a younger fan. (15 almost 16) I became a fan about a year ago and it kind of sucks because I feel I’ve missed out on really quite a lot. (I’d probably trade my soul to go back in time.) Sometimes I feel a little alone out there because I don’t really know any big fans that are my age. I also get teased by a lot of my family and friends. They say things like “Aren’t you a little old to be liking boybands and couldn’t you at least pick one that’s still relevant?” They don’t mean any harm by it, but it’d still be nice if they’d lay off sometimes.  On the other hand the few adults I’ve come across in my life that are/were Backstreet Boys fans think it’s super cool that I’m a fan.  Even though my friends tease me they’ve become a little bit of a fan themselves.  I’ve seen some of their Spotify playlists, so I know the truth.  At the end of the day I’m just glad I became a fan at all.  I still got the future to look forward to and I can’t wait.

 

From @BSB_ftSoldiers (via Twitter):

Can i still say how it feels to be a “Little Groupie”?

I’m 14 and I’m from Mexico, so finding BSB shirts or even the CDs is kind of difficult to me (because people believe that the only famous boy band in the world is 1D 😒)

Also, once I wrote  “Backstreet Boys” on my arm and everybody at school was asking me all day: “Who are the backstreet boys?” And I started to sing “Everybody” or “I Want It That Way”. One of my teachers is a BSB Soldier (and is a man lol) so he kinda knows how it feels. But also, its sad, because I wasn’t even born when they were bigger.

Unlike most of us who remember exactly what the hype was like when our Boys ruled the world? Younger fans can only relive it via YouTube. (Part of why I keep trying to upload videos to our channel, actually.)

From Sana (via @blackandbluee_ on Twitter):

I am only 14 years old and yes I did join the backstreet boys fandom after Black and blue. Personally, I think that my experience as a young fan is a good experience because as a teenager and as growing up in a troubled family I get to listen to them and know that they are there for me, and things will get better!

It’s nice to know some things are universal, no matter what your age is…

 

From Abigail (@abigail_piegeon via twitter):

My experience of being a BSB fan in my 20s.

First of all it’s really sad because besides I became a fan since Never Gone. They didn’t have the impact that they had with Millennium, so there’s not a lot of magazines talking about them, there’s no TV shows talking about them, even the TV stop playing their music videos. In add to that I’m from another country so with tours we pray my country will be part of it. My friends and people of my age barely know them so I was kind of lonely.

Now the good things: 😉

I hear them because my aunt, she likes the music and had the Millennium CD so I remember singing and dancing to their songs. But my aunt lived in another city so my cousins and I just heard BSB when we went on vacation. If you look well you can find BSB things on sale, like stickers, t-shirts, old magazines (for 25cents I can get like 30 magazines with a few images of BSB in everyone). My fangirl life starts to grow. For TIU I was planning to go to the concert, sadly I didn’t know where to buy the tickets and the scaping thing was blurred, my parents would kill me if I done it, I was 15. Last year I wouldn’t stop till I went to IAWLT. I convinced my aunt, a cousin and my sister to go with me, I paid for them and we planned! Our parents were sure to get mad but we wouldn’t miss it for anything. We went and it was the best feeling ever.

From Holly (via @holycecilia17 on Twitter):

I became a fan in May 2014. The boyband of my childhood was the Jonas Brother. However, I started really listening to BSB music in May 2014 and was shocked to realise that I knew a lot of their songs but not the band. And shocked to discover there was new music and 5 not 4 members (my guess is the first picture I saw was when Kevin left). Went on my iTunes and found that I had bought 3-5 songs during my early/mid teenage years and “I Want It That Way” was one of my most played songs. I distinctly remember the first time I heard “What Makes You Different” on youtube in a fanmade video (probably of the Jonas Brothers or High School Musical) and I fell in love with the song, searching for the artist just to buy it on iTunes.

Being a young fan is interesting. I relived the 90s to 2014 in my bedroom on youtube. I went to HMV and bought every album they had in stock. My friends and I jam out to “chapter one” in the car all the time now.

I’m so excited for the new tour, since it’ll be the first one since I became a fan. And, I think I’ve convinced a few friends to maybe come with me 🙂 If not, I’ll probably just go alone. And it will be all of our/my first ever BSB concert.

It’s fun being a new fan, there so much to discover. But there’s also so many tours I missed out on, since I became a fan after “In A Word Like This” tour.

Sometimes I think they don’t give themselves enough credit. They don’t think they appeal to the younger audience – but as someone who was a baby in the 90s, I found their music just fine on my own. Without the radio playing them.

My friends and I play their music all the time now. Mostly in the car 🙂 And I’m trying to get a group together so this next tour will be all of our first ever BSB concert. So being a younger fan is fun, everything is new. And I’m so excited 🙂

Sometimes, reading stuff like this, I get jealous! Mainly because as someone who has literally grown up on Backstreet, grown up with Backstreet…there’s nothing “new” to discover during the Boys’ downtime. I know everything. Sometimes I feel like I know too much. (Okay, I probably DO know, not just feel like I do.) Unless something new actually happens, there’s nothing new to find out. So that has to be pretty damn cool a feeling.

From Sarah (via @rokspica on Twitter):

Hi! I’m Sarah and when Black & Blue was released I was only 2 years old, which means I joined the fandom waaay after their peak. I’m almost 18 now and I “officially” joined the fandom when I was 12/13.

I say officially because I grew up listening to BSB songs, but I only started knowing them better in 2011. I remember being a little kid and watching their video clips on TV and trying to do the choreography, or thinking they were like 19 in 2008! Hahaha, good times. Sometimes I feel sad that I couldn’t be part of the craziness of Millennium and Black & Blue era, but I live in Brazil, when they’re here it feels like its 99! I’m so glad they’re still together and strong and that I can have such an amazing guys as my idols.

 

From Sasa (via @SasaRichardson on Twitter):

So everybody knows I’m one of those young BSB fans. They’ve always asked the same old thing: How did it start? And why BSB out of all groups out there? I’ve always been a boyband fan, I think.

My elder sisters grew up listening to boybands from Europe to Asia, but our main groups were Westlife, Bsb and some Taiwanese groups. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the people in my country prefer Westlife more than BSB, hence why I was exposed to Westlife first. I’ve known BSB for so long but I only knew Everybody and Get Down. Long story short, I was a huge Westlife fan. Like, a total fangirl. But then I found my sister’s old CD of 90s boybands compilation. It had a few clips from 2 European boybands and BSB. I loved all the old school single they put there, from Everybody to We’ve Got It Going On, and then I found myself fangirling over Kevin…. who I just knew for around 20mins 😂 I was still Westlife when I started being a BSB fan, but not long after that they decided to break up LMAO Not to mention without any valid reason. (They later explained why they split but the reason was so bleh and if I continue I could be really bitter so I better stop right now😂) I felt pretty betrayed but then I remembered I had a new group I could start to get to know about. So I did my research and here I am…….. a hardcore BSB fan😂✌

Joining this fandom after Black and Blue has its own plus and minus. I love the internet and our fandom, it’s really easy to get connected to them these days than the 90s obviously, but man what I’d do to experience the Backstreet era. All the hypes, buying the CDs, waiting in line to get concert tickets & them signing the CDs, watching them on MTV & TRL, all those teen magazines with their posters as the bonus etc.

And I’ve said this like a thousand times but being a younger fan in this fandom means we get all the work to trend things… since most of the people here seem not to know how to use the retweet button 😩

The twitter comment, well, okay, that’s fair. Back in our day (wow I sound ninety here) we had to work harder to promote our Boys. Mainly because the internet was shiny, new, and SLOW. There wasn’t’ social media, just really badly done websites made by dedicated fans. One of those I wasn’t cause I hate HTML and only decided to do sites when WordPress came along and made it easy! But you know I do think about what the 90s might’ve been like if we’d had Twitter during the Boys peak time.

Then…I get a little scared. (Like think of NSYNC vs BSB battles on Twitter in 1999!)

Mainly because I know I wasn’t the sanest teenybopper. I’m sane now, obviously. (Mostly?)  But I’m self aware enough to admit I wasn’t back then. I mean we lined up at record stores just to buy a CD at midnight! Talk about dedication. It’s just shifted I supposed with the new generation? Again just really refreshing to see that our Boys still have young fans. Not all of them ones who are fans because they’re raised by them. It shows their music is still reaching out to the masses, touching them, helping them in the way only music can. There’s many more stories like these out there. So if you see a teenager at your next Backstreet Boys concert, reach out to them! We should guide the next generation…I mean, someone’s gotta help us “Backstreet Vets” recruit new soldiers!

If you’re a “young fan” feel free to add your story in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “Fandom Life – “The Youngins”

  1. Layne

    I think I’ve commented a bit on how I joined the fandom in the past, but I thought I’d add a little more detail. I was in kindergarten/1st grade – ish at peak BSB time. I knew they existed. I knew I Want It That Way and Larger Than Life, but my parents were in control of what I listened to. I listened to Aerosmith and eventually Brittney Spears when my friends got into her and I wanted to be like them. It wasn’t until September of 2014 that I became a BSB fan. I was reading a cracked article “4 Bizarrely Specific Things Being Taken Over By One Country” and there was a video about Max Martin. Of course there was a good chunk of stuff with our Boys in there. After that I got curious about this era I missed out on so I started checking out different videos on YouTube. Imagine my shock to learn there were so many BSB albums! I had just missed all the 20th anniversary buzz so I was even more bummed on how much I had missed out on. After 2 days on YouTube and a few hours on wikipedia I was an expert. My only regret is not doing it years sooner.

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  2. Zeta

    I am 17 and I am a huge BSB soldier. I became a fan about three years ago and it has been amazing.I have always liked boybands (1D, BTR) but I never felt so connected and happy about being in a fandom. But sometimes it’s hard being a fan of a boyband that is not “relevant” as people say. Seing so many directioners everywhere but never a BSB fan. When I tell people about them they usually don’t know who they are or they say “aren’t they too old for you?”. That makes me really mad cause no they aren’t old, they are my babies, that is what I say. Also knowing that I will probably never see them live here in Greece it makes me really sad. But honestly, I love them so much and I am so proud of everything they have achieved and I am just happy to be in such an amazing fandom like the BSB Army!
    KTBSPA!

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  3. Sam

    I tweeted a short version, but here it is. Hi, I’m a 13 year old BSB fan. I actually only joined a few months ago, but I feel like a know a lot. When I’m a fan of something, I get hardcore.

    So, I discovered BSB via YouTube parodies. My favorite YouTuber, Jon Cozart aka Paint, posted a Boy Band Medley and IWITW was part of it. I ended up listening to the original a few times, and kind of ignored BSB after that. Fast forward, and As Long As You Love Me came on the radio during my spring break, and somehow it kind of exploded. I don’t know or remember how it happened. It’s kind of like I passed out and woke up a BSB fan. My genre is rock (punk, metal, you name it), so you can imagine how surprised my friends (with similar tastes in music) were. And my parents. Woah, my parents. They were teens in the 90’s, and they lived in the Philippines (we moved to the US later in 06). My mom never got into BSB, and my dad hated them (though I do catch him singing some I’ll Never Break Your Heart making breakfast). I love discovering new old BSB songs, as they’ve a lot of rejected Never Gone songs, and ones from ’93. I kind of wish I was a fan back at their peak, because they’re not really relevant anymore. But then again, pop wasn’t my thing in the first place. Where was I going with this? I don’t remember. But yeah, young fans are here. Thanks for the article. 🙂

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  4. Piper

    I know this article was posted about a year ago, but I wanted to leave my little contribution here anyway. I just turned 20 last month, which means I was two when Millennium was released. Sometimes, it really gets to me that I missed the phenomenon surrounding the band when they first got big. It’s impossible to capture the thrill or the fear that comes with being in crowds that massive in all the footage, but that’s all I’ve got to go by. More than that, I missed out on the chance to “grow up” with the boys the way I hear so many other fans talk about. I know I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me to grow with the band, but I can never catch up to all the people I’ve met.

    On the other hand, however, it feels like such a blessing to fall in love with a band that already has such a fantastic history and a thriving fanbase. It almost seems like I’ll never run out of interviews I haven’t seen. I can spend entire nights surrounded in acapella performances I’ve never seen, unreleased songs I’ve never heard, and articles from magazines across the world that I didn’t know existed. This is especially true if you count everyone’s projects outside the band.

    I definitely got into the band on accident. I’ve always loved the big hits, but I realized one day that I never really gave them a fair chance. So, thinking I was just going to find a song or two I loved, I downloaded The Hits: Chapter One on Spotify. A month later, I had every single album on my phone. Here I am, about a year and a half later, and I just got back from flying all the way out to Las Vegas to see my first BSB show (which is especially hilarious, given that I wasn’t old enough to go pretty much anywhere except the show).

    Lastly, on a mostly related note, I wanted to thank you and the rest of the BSB Army for being so welcoming to new fans. A lot of other fanbases I’ve been involved with have been pretty rude to people who haven’t been around since the beginning. I was so nervous in Vegas because I hadn’t had much of a chance to be around other BSB fans before and I wasn’t sure how everyone was about new people. I was instantly welcomed into the conversations. It felt like a family the whole time I was down there. So, yeah. Thank you.

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