The Backstreet Boys! Yeah, we know. You're supposed to tell the joke before you get to the punchline. In 2005, though, the Backstreet Boys are both. The mere mention of Orlando's most popular export conjures up images of a pop juggernaut crashing under the weight of its own excess, leaving a nation of aging teenyboppers desperately trying to conceal a past spent drooling over highly stylized images of adolescent masculinity. The glossy posters of the half-dressed heartthrobs have been burned, the CDs buried deep in the Dumpster, and the flames of teenage lust satiated by real lovers. The Boys' days of being "Larger Than Life" are over, and they know it. By all accounts, the latest tour is a pileup of epic proportions. Reports out of the Boys' camp tell of poor ticket sales. And although their recent disc, Never Gone, debuted at number three and sold nearly half a million copies, it's a far cry from 2000's Black and Blue, which sold a whopping 1.6 million its first week and went on to sell more than eight million copies. Really, Never Gone is wishful thinking at this point.
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