From Backstreet Boys to the Lion King: Why we crave nostalgia

The Backstreet Boys are playing sold-out shows across Canada this week and their latest album “DNA” topped the charts when it dropped earlier this year.

The recent release of both live-action versions of The Lion King and Aladdin took many ’90s babies on strolls down memory lane.

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It seems like everywhere you look, ’90s pop culture references are popping back into the mainstream — and no, it’s not a coincidence.

“Today’s nostalgia really targets millennials because they are of that age where they’re just feeling the beginnings of a midlife crisis,” Ryerson University sociologist Paul Moore told Global News.

“Just feeling what it means to be working every day of your life for the rest of your career, to understand what it means to be parents for the first time, what it means to be married, what it means to be an adult.”

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Which makes millennials the perfect demographic to market the “good ol’ days.”

“It’s a commodity that you can tap into right now.”

So what does a Backstreet Boy think of this theory?

“We absolutely have to have credit to this whole resurgence of ’90s music,” Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough said. 

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“It’s really helped us, almost to a point, have a lightning strike in a bottle twice, which is amazing because a lot of artists, especially when they have success that we were blessed with, that magnitude … trying to get that again twice is very hard,” Dorough added. 

The Backstreet Boys are not the only ones touring this year. The Spice Girls, Aqua and Hanson are among the few making a comeback.

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Corus Entertainment’s Alan Cross believes this wave of nostalgia is nothing new. In fact, it’s right on schedule, targeting a different generation every time.

“If we go ahead to the 1980s, we had this huge thing for the 1960s. If we go into the 1990s, there was a real fondness for the early 1980s and the late 1970s, with all the punk, new wave and electro-pop stuff that was coming out. 

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Cross warns, though, that this too shall pass.

True to their lyrics, however, the Backstreet Boys say that as long as there’ll be music, they’ll be coming back again.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.