It was one of the most pervasive debates among many middle-school girls in the late 1990s. The question that called for a firm, decisive stance: Which is the better boy band – Backstreet Boys or NSYNC? At the time, nearly 20 years ago, the answer was clear.
It had to be Backstreet Boys.
Having emerged onto the music scene first (initially making waves in Europe and then in the US), every band that came after them was a mere replica attempting to capitalize on the BSB’s success. Of course, 13-year-old girls following this reasoning were too young to clearly remember New Kids on the Block and Menudo of the 1980s, not to mention the Monkees, who came before that.
The debate that divided a young generation seems pointless now, as it’s clear that every era has its boy band that it considers “the best” (I hear those One Direction kids are all the rage today) and that NSYNC has broken up and Backstreet Boys are back together in a comeback world tour, much to the delight of fans of both boy bands.
What’s most interesting is that one person who has not only stayed relevant during and after the NSYNC vs. BSB fracas is NSYNC alum Justin Timberlake, who has managed to do the impossible: survive the teeny bopper adulation of the 1990s and grow into a legitimate, well-respected and wildly popular solo artist.
After a seven-year hiatus since his sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds, Timberlake is finally back to doing what he does best – serving up a modern-day version of a soothing Michael Jackson falsetto, pulsing R&B beats and smooth seductive lyrics that could win over even the harshest boy band critic.
Mr. JT will have a chance to flaunt his own special brand of cool Wednesday when he performs at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park as part of his 20/20 Experience World Tour. In addition to slick dance moves, the massive, year-long, 131 show tour will also display the pinnacle of high fashion, as Timberlake has teamed up with designer Tom Ford, who created some 600 costumes for the concert.
Ford, who is the mastermind behind Timberlake’s latest suave modernized Rat Pack look, designed eight suits for Timberlake and dressed his band and back-up dancers as well.
At last year’s Grammys, Timberlake remained mum about tour details, saying on the red carpet, “We’re definitely going to go on tour. I don’t know how much I should say. It’s going to be a lot of fun, I know that.”
With a 30-song set list featuring hits like “Rock Your Body,” “Cry Me a River,“ “Seniorita” and his most recent chart toppers “Suit and Tie” and “Mirrors,” the term “a lot of fun” seems be an understatement from pop’s latest king of cool.