EW's Special Coverage

Michael Jackson

Music Article

The Ultimate Boy-Band Playlist

It may not have become a popular term until the Britney 'n' Backstreet-mad '90s, but boy bands have been around for decades. Below, a highly subjective list of the most delicious dozen — plus one very meta bonus track

1. ''I Want It That Way'' (1999)
Backstreet Boys
Which way? That way! The swoony überballad that made BSB the fire, the one desire of countless girls (and some giddy boys, too).

2. ''I Want You Back'' (1969)
The Jackson 5
Our first introduction to a tiny wonder named Michael — and a song so classic, it totally transcends the genre.

3. ''Bye Bye Bye'' (2001)
*NSYNC
Parting is such sweet sorrow! (Said young Timberlake, to his Shirley Temple curls.)

4. ''Daydream Believer'' (1967)
The Monkees
Oh, what can it mean, to be the patron saint of sleepy Jeans and homecoming queens? Only the very first boy band knows for sure.

5. ''Hangin' Tough'' (1989)
New Kids on the Block
Tough like a basket of puppies — except maybe Donnie Wahlberg; he was pretty much born with a full beard and a Starter jacket.

6. ''If It Isn't Love'' (1988)
New Edition
After Bobby Brown went solo but before Bell Biv'd away with DeVoe, they gifted us this perfect soul-pop sugar rush.

7. ''Mmmbop'' (1997)
Hanson
Do bop/Dooba dop ba do bop/Dooba dop ba do bop/Do ba do. Yeah!

8. ''Summer Girls'' (1999)
LFO
They were Lyte, they were Funky, they loved the girls who wear Abercrombie & Fitch in the summer (...in the summer).

9. ''Back for Good'' (1995)
Take That
As close to stately as a boy band ever got, with swirling strings and pretty falsetto and the (possibly mimed) playing of their own instruments.

10. ''Burnin' Up'' (2008)
Jonas Brothers
They are so hot for you, girl, they are burning! They are lava! Actually, they might want to go see a doctor.

11. ''Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)'' (2000)
98 Degrees
Slinky tribute to a love so overwhelming and internacional, it must be sung in Spanglish — by four nice guys from Ohio.

12. ''All or Nothing'' (2001)
O-Town
The highest-charting hit of the original Diddy-overlorded Making the Band crew, though sadly, the public soon chose ''nothing'' over ''all.''

BONUS! ''you + me = Us (Calculus)'' (2000)
2gether
Mind-bending heart math from the Stephen Hawkings of fake boy-banddom. (See their self-titled MTV movie satire.) Also? This song might be amazing.

Originally posted Mar 30, 2012 Published in issue #1201 Apr 06, 2012 Order article reprints