These bands may not have made it as big as the Backstreet Boys or N’ Sync but they had some pretty catchy tunes in their time.
Go on. Add them to your Spotify playlist. This is a judgement free zone.
1. 911 – Bodyshakin’
There may have only been three of them, but what they lack in numbers, they make up with legit dance moves.
Sample lyric: “You pierced my emotional armour/Bolt of lightning couldn’t hit me harder”
2. 5ive – Keep on Movin’
It seems boybands of 90s are averse to pronouncing the soft ‘g’, but with catchy tracks like this, who cares? 5ive could have done with a few more dance lessons, but damn if you didn’t find their songs stuck in your head for a full day. Also, I miss the days when boybands had at least one member who could rap (Whaddup, J?).
Sample lyric: “Feels like I should be screaming/Trying to get through to my friends/Sometimes it feels like life has no meaning/But I know things will be alright in the end”
3. Caught In the Act – Let This Love Begin
When you watch CITA music videos now, you’d probably be hard pressed to believe that this band was targeted at the prepubescent teenage girl … I mean, let’s be honest, shirtless guys gyrating together rather homoerotically with closeups of pecs and abs? Still … those were the days when it was socially acceptable for guys to be donning cropped tops, so who am I to judge?
Sample lyric: “On a moonlit summer’s night/We watch the ocean rolling in/I guess the time is right to let this love begin”
4. Human Nature – Tellin’ Everybody
Think all the 90s boybands worth knowing only came out of North America, UK, or Europe? That’s where Aussie group Human Nature will prove you wrong. Before you say “Human, who?”, let it be known they started out as a doo-wop group – which can be seen in their flawless vocal harmony – and they even opened for King of Pop Michael Jackson on his HIStory tour back in 1996 and 1997.
Sample lyric: “Age defies your body/Looks defy my mind/Girl you take me higher/Lady you’re perfect defined”
5. 3T – Anything
Speaking of Michael Jackson, it would be a travesty to talk about 90s boybands without mentioning this trio made up of Michael Jackson’s nephews (Tito’s sons). While they are best known for the songs Anything and I Need You from the album Brotherhood that was released way back in 1995, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that the group is still relatively active, having done tours in Europe and UK in 2014 and 2015.
Sample lyric: “When it’s true love you hope to find/Just call out my name/And girl, I swear I’ll do anything”
6. East 17 – House of Love
If bad boys were your thing back in the 90s, chances are, you were into East 17. And boy did they live up to it, reputation-wise. Original member Brian Harvey was embroiled in an Ecstasy controversy that eventually led to the group’s first split in 1997. Though they attempted a comeback the following year, rebranding themselves as E-17 (though one wonders if that was wise, given their association with Ecstasy), they only managed one memorable hit since then, “Each Time”. House of Love is a favourite of mine because of it deviates from the standard love songs that boybands were churning out at the time. Instead, it’s about war … and peace … and getting along with each other. John Lennon would be proud.
Sample lyric: “How many more tears must she cry?/How many more fears must be felt inside?/Before we realize we’ve gone too far/The creator created, we tore apart”
7. Another Level – Freak Me
If you were in the car with your parents and this song came on the radio, you probably switched radio stations because of its seriously raunchy lyrics. #awkward
Sample lyric: “I love the taste of whipped cream, spread it on the top of me/You know I can’t resist you, girl, I’ll fly you all around the world/I wanna see your body drip, come on let me take a sip/To calm what you cherish most ’cause we’re not about to brag and boast”
8. BBMak – Back Here
This song might have only been a hit in the year 2000 but I’m slipping it in here because technically, it was released in 1999. Also, BBMak are totes legit because they. Played. Their. Own. Instruments! (Two of them at least). Also, the styling of the three boys in this video is still pretty on fleek, even by today’s standards.
Sample lyric: “Baby, set me free from this misery/I can’t take it no more/Since you ran away nothing’s been the same/Don’t know what I’m living for”
9. LFO – Summer Girls
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think LFO just might be the last of the “rapping boybands”. Also, if it weren’t for this song, we would probably have never heard of Abercrombie and Fitch (back in the days before the brand came to Singapore).
Sample lyric: “You’re the best girl that I ever did see/The great Larry Bird Jersey 33/When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet/Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets”
10. soulDecision – Faded
Canada represent! This is the only Canuck boy band in this list and also, this is probably their only hit worth mentioning. I actually also really like their follow-up song “Ooh It’s Kinda Crazy” … but no one else I asked seemed to be aware of that particular track except for me.
Sample lyric: “Kind of faded, but I feel alright/Thinkin’ about making my move tonight/I can’t pretend that you’re only my friend when you’re holdin’ my body tight”
11. PJ & Duncan – Eternal Love
Long before the duo hosted TV shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and the eponymous Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, they were known as PJ & Duncan, so named after their characters on the BBC children’s drama Byker Grove. Their debut album Psyche will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first CD I ever bought with money I’d saved up as an 11-year-old.
Sample lyric: “Suntan lotion that familiar smell/I made you a necklace from a chain of shells/The sand at my feet and warm seabreeze/The kind of romance that’s hard to believe”