Forgotten Teen Pop
by Chuck Eddy | July 30, 2013
The modern teen-pop epoch pretty clearly started in 1997 -- the year Hanson, the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys broke through -- and to some extent it's still going on. But its golden era lasted more or less ten years, which is to say it's been over for a good half-decade by now. The biggest names -- your Britneys and *NSYNCS -- have staked their places as permanent fixtures in pop culture history. But the also-rans, some of whom made records as good or better, even though several never charted beyond Radio Disney, are already fading into the mists of memory, which is what happens when your only audience decides it's outgrown you.
This playlist, though, hopes twentysomething nostalgia is already working in favor of stars who should have been: burrito-loving Hoku, P.E.-hating Brie Larson, irrepressibly idiosyncratic Canadian spunk-gremlin Skye Sweetnam and pre-Taylor Swift teen-country pioneers Hope Partlow and Alecia Elliott. Girl duos M2M and Aly & AJ, as well as the Australian-born Veronicas and Russian-born t.A.T.u., managed more actual pop-chart action, if only briefly. But in any case, we are talking approximately 90 percent female artists here, only exceptions being underappreciated supernova boy trio L.F.O. (rapping about "Summer Girls" as a prelude to Nikki Cleary chirping about "Summertime Guys") and sundry token male representatives of the A*Teens, ATC, Steps and S Club 7, all of whom had way more luck overseas.
The playlist coincidentally ends with two pop-rockish 2003 tunes that are both called "Take Me Away," one by Christina Vidal, from the Freaky Friday soundtrack, and the other by way-bigger-in-Canada Fefe Dobson. And two sort-of-big names did make the cut: Ashlee Simpson, whose songwriting and vocal prowess will forever live in the shadow of presumptive adult expectations, and Lindsay Lohan, whose music will forever live in the shadow of the rest of her life.