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You stand on the shoulders of giants, but giants stand on your shoulders, too.

The philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." But what about those who are too young to remember the past -- are they doomed, too? Perhaps it depends on how you define the term "doomed," but if you regard the boy-band explosion of your preteen years as a disastrous phenomenon, then perhaps the answer is yes. There can be no question, after all, that the Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, et al., did not arise in a vacuum. They were inspired by and modeled quite consciously on the singing-and-dancing white boys who ruled the pop universe at the moment of your birth: New Kids on the Block. A billion-dollar music-and-merchandise juggernaut in their late-eighties heyday, your Birthstar will probably serve as a model for many pop juggernauts to come, but they, too, were a product of history. The New Kids were created, groomed, managed, and owned by one Maurice Starr, a musical entrepreneur who first created New Edition as a blatant knockoff of the Jackson 5, and then created your Birthstar as a blatant knockoff of both New Edition and the original Jackson 5 knockoff, the Osmonds. Somewhere on the island of lost boys within the constellation Teen Idol, Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Joey, and Jon are probably swapping tales of training-bra conquests with the Bay City Rollers, but while they continue to live in the past, you live at a fascinating intersection of past, present, and future. Beware the power you possess, child of the New Kids, for you are not the only one who has to live with its potential effects.
I'll Be Loving You (Forever)  Jul 11-17, 1989

2004 All rights reserved. "Popstrology" is a trademark of Ian Van Tuyl.

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