Why yes, hell hath frozen over and I am writing about the Backstreet Boys. That’s because the Backstreet Boys are totally playing in Shanghai on December 28th and I’m totally going to see them.
I can truthfully say that I was never really a Backstreet Boys fan, but not at all because of my (now) phenomenal taste in music–it’s only because I was just slightly too old for them when they became super popular in the mid to late 90s. I was already off my boy band phase and onto other music (besides, I am forever devoted to New Kids on the Block and New Kids on the Block only). So the BSB never really registered despite the fact that I was in middle school and the prime target for them. And some of my friends were mental about them. I do definitely remember the long, detailed, drawn-out Backstreet Boys versus NSync discussions. But then we all grew up and thankfully started listening to stuff that didn’t require synchronized dancing.
But then I moved to China, and the Backstreet Boys took on a whole new meaning.
We love our karaoke here, and every Chinese person I’ve ever been to karaoke with –young or old, male or female, gay or straight, musically-inclined or non-musically-inclined– knows every single word to “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. It is THE English karaoke song. Even if you go to the po-dunkiest karaoke bar in the tiniest of Chinese cities, they will have “I Want It That Way” on the list. And people know it and will sing it and will love it. The words are easy, the melody is repetitive and slow, and the video’s got white guys dancing in front of a plane. Like, you can’t go wrong.
So the reason I am going to the Backstreet Boys concert is not because I’m a big fan (I don’t really even know who’s in the BSB, only that there’s that blond guy, then those two guys with the weird facial hair and because of that I always thought they were the same guy, and then the other two). I’m going because they’re going to be playing at a huge arena and I want to see 10,000 people singing “I Want It That Way” in unison. And doing the dance. Yes, in China we are unabashed about singing and dancing along with the artists. We do not keep quiet and let them perform. We participate!
You know, also, my tickets are comped. So there’s that, too.
Gonna be a good time.