Random YouTube K-hole: Boys to Men

Random YouTube K-hole: Boys to Men

If your feed was filled with before/after photos of people you know this week, congratulations, you’ve just witnessed –  maybe even participated in – the How Hard Did Aging Hit You? challenge. Some said it was a ruse to train facial recognition algorithms (if it was, the joke’s on them because my Facebook profile pic is an illustration), but most took it as a chance to brag about how aging kissed them gently on the lips instead of beating them up with a two by four.

Anyway, it seems two of my favourite 90’s boybands heard the call, because they’re having a moment again, and thank baby jeebus for the treat.

I don’t think Westlife ever hit it big in the US, but luckily for me, I grew up in the Philippines. MTV Asia made no distinction whether the boyband was from the US or the UK – if they were cute and their songs were catchy, they’d get airtime because they knew young girls fall easily for handsome troubadours, and the more of them, the merrier.

If I Let You Go – Westlife

Something about the innocent imagery of If I Let You Go speaks to me the same way it did when it first came out twenty years ago. Look at the handsome Irish boys wading in the surf, singing about their fear of rejection! Swoon. (Hi Kian!) Bonus points for all that long-haired virility galloping in slo-mo along the sand astride horses. It was like the cover of a novel come to life.

Flying Without Wings – Westlife

I intended to share just one video from Westlife, but screw it, I’m including Flying Without Wings.  Because I’m a secret sap who responds to love songs that turn into choral anthems. Because I think a part of me will always be susceptible to ripped sleeves, floppy hair, toned biceps and piercing blue eyes. (Hi Kian!). And of course, because I can. Why haven’t I been to Ireland yet?

Hello My Love – Westlife

Westlife is back, all grown up and singing about gratefulness and age-appropriate choices, sending us all on a balloon-filled adventure over what looks like a discarded set from the original Star Trek TV show. I’m just happy to see them back together, having aged like fine wine. (Hi Kian!)

It takes more than good looks to make a boyband last – excellent song choices are very much a part of its success, with lyrics that can stand the test of time. Pop music gets a bad rap for being faddish and/or shallow, but the best pop songs are the ones that strike a common chord anywhere and across cultures. Westlife’s longevity is in a large part due to this attribute.

The Backstreet Boys are no slouches either. They’re as good at it now, as they were then.

Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) – Backstreet Boys

It actually took these guys a while to make any sort of dent on me. I’d enjoyed We’ve Got it Going On, and nothing brings a smile to my face quite like hearing the first few bars of Get Down (You’re the One for Me), but any doubts I may have had about throwing money away on a cassette (!) tape were over the moment Howie Durough bared his abs in the pouring rain. The boys brought it, and brought it hard in the third video off of their debut album, and it worked like gangbusters. I hared off to Lee Super Plaza first chance I got. Music videos: effectively marketing music to impressionable young girls since time immemorial.

All I Have to Give – Backstreet Boys

I’ve always needed a little more prodding than most, so when the boys came out with their sophomore album, I didn’t think I was going to get it. And then this video came out in all its bright-coloured, fedora-wearing, abs-baring glory, with Howie Durough promising to give me all he had to give. No more questions, your honour. Hello again, Lee Super Plaza.

No Place – Backstreet Boys

Oh, the blessing of boybands that stay strong and true.Even if it’s jarring to see them with wives and children, something which would’ve sent their fanbase into conniptions a couple of decades ago. They famously sang “Backstreet’s back, alright” – but the truth is the Backstreet Boys never really went anywhere… and thank goodness for that, because everyone always needs a little pop in their lives.

Random YouTube K-hole: Halloween Edition

Random YouTube K-hole: Halloween Edition

It’s Halloween, and you know what that means. Everyone’s going to be running around in skimpy costumes pretending they’re not dying from exposure because it’s Canada and the temperature just hit the ultra low Cs. Sexy witch for the win! Yay!

There’s no shortage of macabre music videos that will leave you twisted for days – all the gore and cockroaches you could want! But I’m a pop tart and will forever be one, and suddenly posting something from Nine Inch Nails doesn’t quite feel authentic. Ha! Authentic. Like anyone would know. Or care. But anyway.

I wanted to revisit videos that are perfect for Halloween – whether or not they were intended to be – but are still sweet enough to avoid mental anguish. Without further ado, here are three of them (plus an extra one thrown in at the end because I’m nice like that!).

Daft Punk, Around the World

A Halloween party for people on a modest budget and a lot of imagination. It’s got everything. Mummies. Skeletons. Robot people. Synchronized swimmers. Tiny baby heads. All on a constant repeat. It’s hypnotic, weird and could potentially cause nightmares, but that backdrop of lights playing an otherworldly game of Connect Four is fun enough to stop just short of really messing with your head.

Ylvis, The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)

Let’s all dress up as animal mascots and have some bubbly! The closest I’ll ever come to an acid trip, this is what happens if the Hieros Gamos scene from Eyes Wide Shut is re-enacted somewhere in the Scandinavian woods. By hipster furries. On shrooms.

Backstreet Boys, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

You didn’t think I’d let this post go without dropping the world’s biggest boyband and a literal monster mash of a video, did you? Backstreet’s Back, and they’ve got it all – werewolves, mummies, vampires, Jekyll & Hyde and even the Phantom of the Opera. Probably the closest in spirit to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, this is a Halloween Dance Dance Revolution.

And finally (more like inevitably)…

Michael Jackson, Thriller

The granddaddy of all music videos and the one that jumpstarted the MTV revolution. Wacko Jacko’s oeuvre wins Best Costume, Best Makeup, Best SFX, Best Zombie Dance Moves, Best in Effort, Best Everything, godamnit because just look at this classic. He even got Vincent Price to voiceover. There’s not a single Halloweenish video ever made that’s ever topped this one, before or since. Bad with a capital B, the song itself matches the video, making it the rightful ruler of the Halloween video empire.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Boybands Don’t Wear Skinny Jeans

I really should be working on next week’s column and not causing my editrix to pull her hair out because once again I’m going to squeak past my deadline, but this is way too distracting. Yes, I know the Backstreet Boys and their brand spanking new Vegas residency is stale news  (and so is this James Corden clip), but my motto is, has been and always will be: better late than never. So I just watched this and am listening to what the universe is telling me: my arse needs to be in Vegas next year. I will finally, finally indulge the young teenage girl I was. The one who had bootleg posters and all the cassette (cassette!) tapes of their albums. I’m old and I want to be happy. Leave me alone.

So now I’m sucked into the black hole that is Ticketmaster and gunpowder, treason and plot plot plotting my way into how to make this happen.

ps. If I didn’t already love James Corden enough, as of today I am absolutely TEAM CORDEN all the way. That’s right. ALL CAPS. TEAM CORDEN. TEAM CORDEN!

pps. With this and other upcoming trips, I may need to peddle some organs I can live without. Will someone teach me how to get on the dark web and do this Bitcoiny thing? I don’t want to wake up in a bathtub in some godforsaken motel room with an icepack pressed to my belly and no memory of the last 24 hours. Thanks.