I’m just going to say this outright: The ThrowBACK to School Welcome Week Concert featuring Smash Mouth and Boyz II Men is most likely going to be terrible. I would like to spend the next few paragraphs coming up with insulting puns to describe the stale dribble that this concert will undoubtedly amount to, such as ThrowUP or ThrowOUT, but I suppose I should attempt some reasonable argument for my opinion.
This concert was not doomed from the start. In fact, if I were in the meeting room when someone threw out a proposition for a concert featuring bands that would take things back to the simpler time of slap bracelets and “Hey Arnold,” I would burst into tears in the white-hot light of their creative genius. Nothing could be a better welcome back to college — the last step between the carelessness of youth and the “real world” for many — than the chance to once again shamelessly dance around to the infectious music of *NSYNC or Spice Girls.
But while the Ohio Union Activities Board should be lauded for their epic brainstorming, the execution of this fantastic concept was anemic at best.
From the pantheon of 90s giants that defined childhood for many college kids, OUAB has managed to scrape Smash Mouth from the grimy depths of obscurity. While a nod to the alternative music of our youth is warranted — necessary even — that one band that did those two songs from “Shrek” should in no sane universe beat out prolific bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls or Third Eye Blind.
I’ll admit that Boyz II Men is a stronger attempt at stoking the warm fire of nostalgia. Their star power is undeniable and I can name more than one song for which they’re famous, but in the context of boy bands even these Boyz fall short. Even at the height of their fame, Boyz II Men fell closer to adult contemporary on the genre spectrum. They were a boy band that grown-ups could get behind, but OUAB seems to have forgotten that once the parents drop their babies off for college, most of them go home.
When I go to a concert, I’m not looking for the music that my mother put on when she cleaned the house. If that concert is specifically meant to be a throwback that young adults like myself can enjoy, more relevant acts like the Backstreet Boys or even 98 Degrees would have been far superior.
There is no doubt that a setlist involving even one of the bands I suggested would likely come with a hefty price tag, but expenses aside, it is a little ridiculous that OUAB would cobble together a lineup of two acts that are vaguely related by the fact that they were once popular around 20 years ago. Try as they might to smooth it over with an enticing gimmick, I would have to take this chance and disagree with a popular Smash Mouth lyric: All that glitters is not gold.