From the Jackson 5 to One Direction, boy bands have always
been an integral institution of the pop industry. They’ve dominated the charts,
produced iconic hits, and been the source of many a teen crush. For me, one boy
band ranks high above them all; the Backstreet Boys! I grew up listening to
‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ and ‘I Want It That Way’, so when the
Backstreet Boys announced that they were releasing a new album in 2019 I was
beyond myself with excitement.
The album opens with ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, which was
also the first single from the album in May last year. I have been obsessed
with this song since it came out; it’s the perfect balance of old school boy
band cheesiness mixed in with a modern melody and an infectious beat that you
can’t help dancing to. This song gave me such high expectations for what was to
come, but it seems the boys peaked too soon because it’s definitely my
favourite song on the album.
That’s not to say the rest of the album is bad, because it’s
not, but they’re not banging out the hits like they used to. Songs like ‘Nobody Else’, ‘Is It Just Me’, ‘The Way It Was’, and ‘Just Like You Like It’ are all solid love songs on an album that focuses entirely on relationships. There’s nothing wrong with them, but there’s also nothing particularly special. The boys have infused good old fashion pop music with a modern twist and romantic lyrics. My favourite of the love ballads is ‘Chateau’, just for the beautiful lyrics and soft melody. It’s sweet, and it ticks all the boxes of what a good love song should be.
Photo Credit: Album Artwork
‘Breathe’ is one of the albums highlights, as it really
shows off the band’s vocal chops with absolutely stunning harmonies. The song itself is just another romantic ballad, but the way it’s executed is what I expect from the Backstreet Boys; flawless harmonizing, soulful tone, and there’s something nostalgic about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. ‘Passionate’ is another highlight for me, because it breaks way from the ballads to deliver a funky dance number with insane falsetto and a groovy bassline. The jazzy instrumentals remind me a little bit of Madness, but it’s also undeniably current and I really wish the album had featured more tracks like this one.
‘New Love’ is the band’s latest single off the album, and it was probably my least favourite track. Like ‘Passionate’, ‘New Love’ breaks away from the ballad, but I’m not a fan of the dirtier, grungier sound. It just doesn’t suit the Backstreet Boys and I feel like they maybe got a little too experimental with this one.
‘Chances’ and ‘No Place’ are two of the other singles from
the album, and they both have absolutely incredible music videos. ‘Chances’
builds up beautifully, allowing it to stand out from the other tracks on the
album. I wasn’t a fan the first time I heard it, but it definitely grew on me!
The album ends with ‘OK’ which is another love song with cute lyrics and a
definite summery vibe to it.
Overall, I did enjoy listening to this album. There’s only
one song that I wasn’t really keen on, but a lot of the tracks do feel very
similar and I do wish the boys had included more upbeat dance numbers. It’s formulaic pop at its heart, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that; it’s nice to listen to and I know that fans of the band will love it, but these songs won’t be remembered like the old hits are.
Photo Credit: Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Official Video)