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First the Spice Girls, Now the Backstreet Boys—It’s Officially 1998 Again

Picture this: It’s the year 1998. Discmans are all the rage, iPhones are but a future twinkle in Steve Jobs’s brain, and one’s room is plastered with taped-up posters of Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, and the Backstreet Boys. Seem nostalgic? It’s actually the near future: On Saturday, it was announced that the Backstreet Boys will be embarking on their biggest stadium tour in 18 years. Titled the 2019 DNA World Tour, the boy band’s 43-date leg will cover both Europe and North America (it kicks off in May) and will promise to feature both their classic hits—I want it thaAaAt wayyyy—as well as songs from their new album, DNA, which is dropping in January.

The new tour news follows an eventful week of 1990s pop comebacks. Earlier this month, the Spice Girls also announced they will be reuniting for a short UK-only tour next year (sans Posh Spice, who, unfortunately, is too busy running her fashion label). Could the appetite for music’s simpler times perhaps point to an escapist mentality given our, say, challenging political climate today? Or are today’s pop acts—Taylor, Justin, Ariana—failing to bring a certain magic that could only be captured two decades ago? Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that a thirst for ’90s pop hits has spread like wildfire this year. (Today’s cool kids like Charli XCX and Troye Sivan even released a single, “1999,” together, in honor of the beloved era.)

Other recent ’90s revival moments: In Las Vegas, Spears continues to be one of the city’s highest-paid performers ever, and will return with her new Domination residency next year following her four-year Piece of Me residency. No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani is also in the midst of a Vegas residency. As for who’s next for a major comeback: Could it be the Backstreet Boys’ main competitors, ’NSync? Or perhaps it will be the earworm-y Ace of Base, or even the Hanson brothers. Only time will tell—but one thing’s for certain, the demand is there.

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