Call me old fashioned, but I am still a sucker for Joey Fatone, Brian Latrell, and the other Lachey Brother from their boy band glory days. The success of their songs didn’t come from legendary lyricism or face-melting guitar solos, but from their pop-perfect voices and sweet dance moves. Their boyish good looks didn’t hurt either. So join me in some late-’90s nostalgic looking with covers of all those dirty-pop hits. Though a biased fan, I will attempt to objectively scrutinize these covers and determine whether they’d be teen-idol approved.
This punk “I Want It That Way” caught me by surprise with such a polar opposite take. The original is gentle and easy, but Dynamite Boy hits all the right notes and really turned up the volume on the supporting band. If you listen close, you can hear the softer, emo side in the singer’s tone. There was a lot of noise, some anger, and a little bit of sensitivity. Nick Carter would approve.
The original “All or Nothing” takes you back to the days when you’d sit in your basement and cry about how your new boyfriend wouldn’t sit with you at lunch and it was the end of your world. Oh, just me? Cool. Anyway, this cover sped things up with a snappy drum beat and that takes the heartbreak right out of the song. While whoever was in O-Town might not approve, it was a pick-me-up from what once was a devastating song for me.
Trey Anastasio and the men of Phish had a little fun one night and covered Hanson’s “MmmBop.” In addition to their ode to the blond brothers of Hanson, they added James Brown-style commentary. While you wouldn’t normally pair Hanson with James Brown, it turned into a playful jam on stage for the audience to revel in. Taylor Hanson (who actually had another good band) would approve.
Bravely, HUFF THIS!, an all girls band, took on the New Kids on the Block “You Got It (The Right Stuff). They slowed it down, adding an indie-rockin’ acoustic rhythm that was acceptably different at first. However, when the chorus came along, I didn’t even recognize it. The “Oh-oh-oh-ohhhh” (a.k.a. the best part of the entire song) sounded like awkward breathing that made me want to turn the song off before it was over. While I managed to tolerate the verses, the choruses only got worse over time. Pre-Sixth Sense Donny Wahlberg would not approve.
If ‘N Sync had hit their prime during this YouTube generation, this a capella cover by sisterly family band Cimorelli would have been exactly what they’d have hoped for. This girl band takes on their boy harmonies, hitting all the right notes and then some. We can go ahead and credit Glee for the inspiration on this one, seeing as these girls weren’t alive during the days of ‘N Sync as one cohesive group. Justin Timberlake would approve… he’s a ladies man after all.
These covers are a far cry from the days of choreographed dance specials and Tiger Beat – they are a whole new entity. Had I not been deeply in love with all of them, I might have even forgotten the originals. Punk, jam, and all-girl bands alike stepped up their game and gave the boy band genre a run for their money. It’s almost unfair to the Boy Bands…Lou Pearlman would approve.