September 20, 2014

The return of my pre-teen obsession

Posted 5/13/10

The scene: screaming teenage girls pummeling each other to get to the front of the stage, crying when their favorite musician appears. News stations immediately begin to compare the reaction to the way girls screamed and cried for The Beatles.

It’s a reaction that new teen pop sensation, Justin Bieber, is experiencing at the moment. And if you don’t recognize the name, you probably don’t have a teenage or pre-teen daughter. (Well, I guess I don’t either, but that’s beside the point.)

Underneath the catchy beats and smooth voice, all I can think is, “When did I start getting old?”

Flash back 13 years: It’s 1997, and you can’t even catch a glimpse of my bedroom wall underneath all my Hanson posters. I’m resenting my parents for not taking me to a concert in Columbus, since Hanson never made a stop in my home state of West Virginia.

I’m determined to record every TV show appearance, which I do on VHS because DVDs were nonexistent. I even have some of their music on cassette, since the ratio of CDs to cassettes was fairly even at that time.

I spend many of my summer days flipping between VH1 and MTV, hoping to catch one of Hanson’s music videos. My day is made when “MMMBop” plays on VH1’s Pop Up Video. Remember, there’s no YouTube, and both music channels actually played music videos for hours on end, so it was all about patience and perseverance.

Even though I know it’s a very slim possibility, I still dream of marrying the youngest brother, Zac.

Now back to the present: I’ve managed to go to one Hanson concert in 2000 in Houston, but I’ve missed every appearance in Michigan because I never felt like driving two hours to see them.

I don’t have any TV appearances recorded on the DVR because I can just go to YouTube if I want to see anything. (And yes, they’ve actually had recent appearances.)

I no longer have pre-teen girl dreams of marrying Zac, and I even have a daughter who is a couple months older than his son. (All of the brothers are married with children these days.)

So when people like the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber elicit fanatical screaming from pre-teen girls — including some who weren’t even born when I was jamming to “MMMBop” — I feel ancient … until one of my coworkers tells me about how big New Kids on the Block were when she was in seventh grade. I was born around the height of NKOTB’s fame, just like all the girls going crazy for Bieber were born at the height of Hanson’s fame.

I only have 10 years to prepare myself for the next big musical heartthrob(s) who will inevitably capture the attention of my daughter. Right now it’s all about “Dora the Explorer” and “Yo Gabba Gabba,” but before I know it, I’ll have to prepare my wallet and my daughter’s bedroom walls for the pre-teen years.

On August 16 and 17, Hanson will be back in Michigan — one concert in Grand Rapids, one in Royal Oak.

I’m seriously debating making the drive to one of the shows. I figure I might as well get concert-going out of my system before I have to chauffeur my daughter and her squealing group of friends to see whomever they’re dreaming of marrying.

The one fun thing about pre-teen obsessions, though, is that there’s always a little part of it that stays with you throughout your life. I still keep track of when Hanson releases new music — the new album is out June 8 — and I’m sure there will be countless people still following up with Justin Bieber’s music 10 years from now.

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