I'm not sure who wrote or said it, but I've always found this very fitting– “Never underestimate a girl's love for her favorite band. Never think, even for a minute, that she won't defend them to her death. Because it's not just the music that makes that band her favorite. It's the guys, it's the girls, and it's the fans– people whom she has interacted with, thanks to the band. That band might have saved her life. Or maybe they just make her smile every day. That girl's favorite band– they've never broken her heart. They have yet to leave her. No wonder she finds such joy in her music.”
I am one of those girls. I am a “fan girl”. For eighteen years there has been one band that has been there through all of the ups and downs. From high school, to college, through relationships and my parents' separation, and from one town to another, one state to the next my favorite band has always been there. Their music has made me smile when I had tears streaming down my face, and their music has been the soundtrack to countless road trips. Some of the closest relationships I have, some of the best memories I have, come from being a fan.
Hello, I'm Laney, and I've been a Backstreet Boys “fan girl” for eighteen years.
Yes, I've taken plenty of ribbing over the years because of my love for “my boys”. That's okay, because like some wise person said, a girl will defend her favorite band with her last breath. Believe me, I will. I think they are a group of extremely talented and extraordinary men, and they mean the world to me. If their music isn't your cup of tea, that's fine. I understand that everyone's music tastes are different. All I ask is that you acknowledge their talent: those five men have amazing harmonies and can sing a cappella beautifully, something few artists can or do anymore.
So the question I get asked frequently is how I became such a big fan. There's really no simple answer to that. It really all started in 1995, just a couple of years ago, right? I was in high school, and randomly received a package in the mail one day. I'm not sure why I received it. My guess is that I ended up on a mailing list because of some magazine I was subscribed to. You know, the obligatory “Teen Beat” or “Tiger Beat”. Anyway, the package contained some fliers introducing a new musical group as well as a cassette… Yes, a cassette… that sampled some of their music. Of course I popped the cassette in my stereo and listened. For me, the rest was history. I was sucked into anything and everything Backstreet. It was the first time that there was an artist that I was truly attached to.
Backstreet Boys posters graced my dorm room walls at Marshall University, and, when I became a resident adviser, my residents would bring me little Backstreet trinkets that they would find. Their music filled my room and was about the only thing played in my car. Let us not forget the VHS tapes filled with their appearances and concerts. Yes, I was truly a “fan girl”. Afternoons for my friends and I involved making sure they were at the top of the TRL countdown on MTV. We weren't happy campers when someone ousted them from the number one spot.
One of my prized memories will always be seeing them for the first time in concert. It was November 26, 1999—the day after Thanksgiving—in Lexington, Kentucky. Mom bought tickets for the two of us. It was really the first time I'd ever gone to a concert for a group that I wanted to see. My mom was awesome, making sure that I got a tour T-shirt and book, as well as a T-shirt for one of the member's charities. (He happened to be my favorite. Every girl has one, ya know?) Our seats were in the nosebleed section, but I didn't care. I was there. I was watching the Backstreet Boys performing live. Nothing could top that! And, yes… I cried happy tears, because I'm a “fan girl” and our love for our bands is immense.
Several years have passed, and the posters are no longer on the walls. I'll admit that I still have them, though. They're neatly rolled up, in a protective tube in my closet. I still have my VHS tapes and DVDs, and I'll pull them out from time to time for a trip down memory lane. And don't think that I'll put off getting the latest release. Trust me, their album releases in two weeks and it's been preordered for awhile now. I'll also be screaming and dancing when their tour comes to Atlanta next month. That's because I'm a Backstreet Boys “fan girl” eighteen years strong.
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