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You're Going To Hear Who Perform?
Finally, the Dad Guide to Girl Groups and Boy Bands. Ignore at your peril.

Sharon Goldman Edry

Were you ever into the Bay City Rollers, Leif Garrett or, heaven forbid, Duran Duran? And is Led Zeppelin your idea of a "boy band?" Whether or not you were into teen music-or even classic rock-back when you were a teen, chances are you have not one idea about the music your kids are screaming for today.

Okay, this may hurt. But if you're going to keep up, you really do need to be able to identify who's in those posters and magazine
covers your kids have taped or nailed to those walls you spent so much time painting a few months ago. It may make you feel physically ill, and there's no doubt that it'll make you feel older than dirt. But there's no getting around it. Here's the bottom line on who's responsible for those lovesick lyrics, cheesy dance steps, and bare midriffs:

The Geezers: The Backstreet Boys

Consider yourself completely out of the pop culture loop if you've never heard of these "Old Kids on the Block" (one of the Boys is already 30). A true Boy fan would probably know the following fun facts, so freak your kids out by knowing that: A.J. now has 10 tattoos. Brian bites his nails. Nick's favorite drink is Mountain Dew. Howie's middle name is Dwaine. And Kevin's nickname is "Train."

The Superbowl Studs: 'N Sync

The original Backstreet Boys clone, this teen pop megagroup made all of us cry "Sellout!" when Aerosmith deigned to perform with them at the big football game. But your daughters think they're adorable, so you'll have to put up with them until this entire musical genre finally goes "Bye, Bye, Bye." (Hey, that's not just an expression, it's the tiles of one of their biggest songs, so throw it into dinner conversation every once in a while.)

The Pretty Boys: 98 Degrees

Possibly the cutest and cleanest-cut of the bunch, which makes them almost nauseatingly squeaky, 98 degrees sings songs like "I Do (Cherish You)" and "My Everything." You'll hate them because they look like the popular jock you never were, but your daughters will love them because "Ohmigod, they're sooooooo adorable!" Yeah, whatever.

The Plastic Boys: O-Town

You can't get more manufactured and marketed than these guys, though many have tried. In the process of flipping channels with the remote, you may have come across a documentary called "Making the Band" last year. Well, this is the band. It's hard to tell them apart from the groups above, but for some completely inexplicable reason they've got their own screaming prepubescent fans, videos on MTV's Total Request Live, and a hit album called "All or Nothing." God help us all.

The Belly-Button Brigade: Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera/Mandy Moore/Jessica Simpson

Though they're not a girl group, these four females have so much in common that they could be: Blonde hair. Bare bellies. Bodacious bodies...hey, you're not supposed to say that about a singer half your age! In any case, these girls are all stars in their own right, but may be hard for you to tell apart. Here's the deal: Britney's got the biggest boobs, Christina's the trampy-looking one, Mandy's the most innocent looking, and Jessica's the twenty-year-old virgin-or-so she claims.

The Divas: Destiny's Child

With enough cast changes and drama to win a Daytime Emmy, Destiny's Child has managed to make its jumping R&B sound popular with even the most fickle young fans. Though the group's members look 30, they're actually all below the legal drinking age and girls love them for their post-feminist, I'm-a-strong-woman refrain. So when your innocent child starts walking around the house singing "I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I'm a survivor, keep on surviving," just nod your head like you understand.

Make Room for Puff Daddy: Dream

When rap star and producer Puff Daddy decided to make some money by creating his own version of the Spice Girls, this is what he came up with. Four heavily made-up, midriff-baring, synchronized-dancing smiley-faces. Could be any of the groups above, too.

TV Popstars: Eden's Crush

The girl version of O-Town, created last season on a television show called "Popstars." Why Eden's Crush? No one knows. So sweet, so cute, so pretty, so...what?

Okay, so now you know who your kids are ga-ga over. But don't spend too much time memorizing their birthdays or favorite foods and don't invest too much money in CDs or anything else. In six months from now there'll be a whole new crop of boy bands and girl groups. But don't worry about that. Yet.

Sharon Goldman Edry is a New York City-based freelance writer who has written for such publications as Parenting, Child and American Baby.

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