We’ve all been there. We’ve found a new person who, when you mention the Backstreet Boys, says “Oh my God! I LOVE THEM!” and instantly, we bookmark the person in our minds for further investigation. Why? Because in the 22 years that the Backstreet Boys have been together, we have all learned that there are many types of fans. There are diehards, there are nostalgics, there are “the returned”, and there are the fans by association.
These are loosely defined by the following:
Diehards: The ones that know everything. They know obscure and ridiculous, not because they’ve researched everything, but because they have memories. They’ve been around a long time and have a vast knowledge of the Boys, their history, and display some form of BSB in their homes.
Nostalgics: The ones who, when you mention the Backstreet Boys, automatically mention some 90s reference and quite frequently say something like “oh yeah, I went to see them and Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls…”. They still think Nick Carter has a middle part and Howie has a ponytail. God bless you if you’re ever stuck next to a nostalgic at a recent BSB concert, diehards. You’ll probably want to cause them physical pain…but don’t. Kevin won’t approve.
The Returned: The ones that fell off of the BSB fan-map after the Millennium era. Maybe they fell off after Kevin left. They were once heavy into all the Backstreet knowledge and, for whatever reason, they have returned. These are the fans that knew the old stuff very well and researched what they’ve missed before they jumped back in. Why? Because they didn’t want to be a nostalgic. 😉
Fans By Association: The ones who are friends or family members of a diehard and were thereby, sucked into the Backstreet hole….and they kind of love it. They may not have been a huge fan to begin with, but after their friend / fam paid for a few concert tickets, they’ve found themselves singing along to the songs without the diehard in the car or following the Boys on social media. They’re not sure where it started and they’re not sure they’re going to admit it…but they look forward to the next event.
If you think that telling the difference is hard, you thought wrong. Read on to find out how you know.
1. Ask What His/Her Favorite Backstreet Boys Song Is.
Diehards will most likely tell you a song that isn’t a single, an unreleased song (followed by a 3 minute rant about why it should be released), or give you one song from every album (including the Euro releases).
Nostalgics will either say “I Want It That Way” (which is only favored by 2% of ride or die fans), “Everybody”, or “As Long As You Love Me”. They might also say “Oh, what was that song where they ____?” Try not to roll your eyes too hard.
The Returned will give you a solid answer as to not be too exposed. They might mention something on the Never Gone album or “Don’t Want You Back” or, if they’re really good, “Like A Child”. Their cover is only blown when you ask how they feel about Unbreakable…. and they start to sweat.
Fans By Association will have a favorite….but have to ask the real fan which one it is.
2. “Wait. There’s Two Leighannes?”
Diehards probably won’t even understand without thinking about this for a second. We know Leighanne and Leigh D., but for those who haven’t been around…. this question is legitimately baffling for them. Fans By Association won’t understand either – “Uhh, I thought it was all dudes?”
3. How Well They Know The Solo Projects.
Of course, Diehards and The Returned have schooled themselves in the solo projects – how else would we get through the withdrawals?! The Returned know all of the solo projects, because once you quit and come back, you must suck up all the material and binge and honestly, they may like the stuff better than the ones that have been here all along. The Fans By Association also probably know the solo projects….because the diehards have forced them into loving it. Nostalgics: “Wait, Nick has 3 solo albums?!” Bless you.
4. “Kevin Left?!”
Diehards don’t want to talk about it (and if they do, watch out). The Returned likely left because of it. Fans By Association know better than to bring it up. Nostalgics might think Joey Fatone left the Backstreet Boys as well.
5. Ask A Fan To Name Their Favorite Backstreet Boys Memory.
The Returned will either have a memory from the days of yore, one that’s really cool that will make you jealous, or one that is from recent times since they’re triumphant return. It is to be noted that some of The Returned have severe guilt issues about ever leaving the BSB fandom and will spend years (and major money) making up for it.
Diehards, much like their favorite song, will not know where to start with favorite memories. If you need a reason to not talk for a while, ask this question.
Fans By Association, if a husband or boyfriend, will have some weird bro-time Backstreet Boy memory. Nostalgics will say something like going to the Millennium concert….the only Backstreet Boys concert they’ve ever been to.
Go out, be knowledgeable, and love those Boys, Backstreet Fans. Whatever kind you may be.