|To be fair, they look a little fucking moody.|
Members: (from left) Drew Lachey, Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre
Reign of Terror: 1998-2002
For the most part, 98 Degrees was always different from most boy bands. Other groups went for a less masculine look, hiring a pretty lead singer and filming adorably chaste videos. From the looks of it, 98 Degrees recruited three high school quarterbacks and one high school Percocet dealer. After Mulan's True To Your Heart, their videos were a little more grown-up, with Vegas showgirls and lots of cleavage. They traded boyish baggy pants and bright red sweatshirts for ribbed sweaters and khakis. In their first hit video, Because of You, they walk around looking like a goddamn Calvin Klein cologne ad.
|Jeff's loafers have a heel, by the way.|
Their music videos are still puzzling to me, though. I understand that music videos aren't supposed to be an exact record of the song's lyrics - not every video can be Down Under - but 98 Degrees always had video plots that were slightly askew. Take their 1999 masterpiece The Hardest Thing:
The song lyrics' plot: A man is breaking off his extra-marital affair, even though he loves this woman, because his wife doesn't deserve to be treated this way
The music video plot: A boxer is dating a Vegas showgirl, and they get in a fight, I guess
It's just sort of weird. The same goes for a song I remember as being a much bigger hit than it apparently was, I Do (Cherish You). The song is basically just a man singing his wedding vows, which is very sweet; but the video is about four men proposing separately to the same woman, who ends up marrying Screech from Saved By The Bell. That is very, very strange.
Unlike most of the other boy bands on our list, 98 Degrees decided to go out on top rather than fade away. They released a compilation album in 2002 that sold over 2 million copies, and went on a temporary hiatus that continues to this day.
- Sex appeal/charisma: I'm giving them a 7, just because of their brawn. Also, Nick Lachey's lips and Jeff Timmons's face.
- Cheesiness: 6/10 - they were very grown up.
- Dance moves: Even though they didn't really have any, I want to deduct points for Jeff Timmons. He's the worst hand-dancer ever. Also, I hate the White Boy Head Nod. So, -1.
- Music: 7 - I feel no shame in listening to them to this day.
- Post-band success: I'm so glad I forced you to ask. Nick Lachey will probably always be best known for marrying Jessica Simpson, a mistake which was documented by their insufferable reality show The Newlyweds. His solo career has been moderately successful as well. Drew Lachey...is his brother. Justin Jeffre is apparently a Green Party would-be politician. And Jeff Timmons has made the best career move of all.
*The White Boy Head Nod: nod your head back and forth to the beat. If you're feeling extra soulful, simultaneously pat your chest.