Coming of age at the turn of the millennium was truly something special because it was right before the internet became part of our everyday life. I mean, I was already a self-conscious 13-year-old…did I really need something like Instagram models making me feel even worse? Hell no, I had MTV pimping blonde hair and blue eye perfection daily on TRL! Which, when MTV wasn’t dishing out the idea that low-rise jeans were everything a girl needed to be hot, they were putting boy bands on display like pieces of meat to be consumed by rabid fans. So today we’re celebrating those delicious groups of guys by counting down the videos that sexually awoke millennial fans, and not the insecurities we got…
“In a World Like This” – Backstreet Boys
I’m fully aware that this 1. Didn’t come out in the ‘90s and 2. It came out around “Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)” BUT have you seen Kevin Richardson in this video? I had spent my entire adolescence wondering why the moms and girls with obvious daddy issues crushed on this man, and then all of a sudden I was older, wiser, and this fine wine made my grown parts move and shake like it was in fact 1999.
“I’ll Make Love to You” – Boyz II Men
There is a lot of debate on whether Boyz II Men should be grouped in with the teeny-bopper boy bands but when you take into account the general definition of a boy band, they are one – only they could sing circles around 100% of the rest. Anyways, this song was probably a lot of fangirls’ first taste of true blue romance. Like, yeah…we’d barely learned what sex was via playing MASH, but we soon wanted more than that. We wanted that sweet, sweet lovemaking. I guess. I mean, we were like nine. We didn’t know what the fuck we wanted.
“Weird” – Hanson
When you place Hanson up against any other boy band on this list, they certainly fall short because at the time they were our age and the others were just well, look at AJ McLean. Case. Made. However, there were plenty of fans out there that watched this video, got insanely introspective, and felt new feelings for the first time.
“I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys
This. Was. A. Moment.
“Ghost of You and Me” – BBMak
The TRL watchers that were awakened by this absolutely fell in love with the boy next door, or a guy in the military. I’m not sure why, but I just feel it.
“Tearin’ Up My Heart” – *NSYNC
They are dramatically singing in white tank tops in a warehouse. What was there not to be excited about in this video? Even Joey’s ass is in the background hitting a punching bag. *fans self* In the grand scheme *NSYNC had other videos down the road, but I have to respect one of the first videos that introduced them to the ‘Tiger Beat’ world.
“Liquid Dreams” – O-Town
Raise your hand if you actually knew what this song was talking about back in the day? Was I the total opposite of Britney and actually that innocent? Me thinks, yes. So for me, this wasn’t necessarily about the song itself, but the video with a new crop of cute boys to hang on my wall. For those who actually had the internet and perhaps Googled the song title, you were introduced to a whole new term and possibly went down a dirty little rabbit hole.
“The Hardest Thing” – 98º
When it came to 98º videos they were either Gap ads or softcore porn sans the one they made for ‘Mulan’ with Stevie Wonder. That one aside, these were the types of videos you watched and were like, THESE ARE MEN! 13-year-old me was LIVING for this alongside so many others.
“Thinking of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)” – *NSYNC
Okay, so four out of five of the men in this group looked absolutely amazing in this video that featured them in silk pajamas. I’m 34-years-old watching this right now about to scream into the next available camera to give a shout out to those four to get in my pants and let me have their babies.
“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” – Backstreet Boys
Looking back, there was a lot wrong with this video. First off, why were these grown men at a…school in the middle of the night NOT dressed for physical activity? Furthermore, what was going on with Kevin rocking an Oasis-looking haircut? And Howie, why? All of that aside, all it takes in this video is slow motion with the addition of rain and any and all issues one could’ve had with this, both then and now, evaporate because they are shirtless and/or in wet clothes gyrating into the camera. I mean…if you could pinpoint the day I turned the corner in my sexual development – it was seeing this video for the first time. Although, “All I Have to Give” is a close fucking second.