Showing posts with label the backstreet boys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the backstreet boys. Show all posts

Sunday, January 27, 2019

video review: 'dna' by backstreet boys

So okay, I'm pleased enough with the review... less pleased that I only was reminded during the upload about the allegations against Nick Carter. Left a note in the description surrounding that whole business... yeah, ugly stuff, and Brian Littrell's response was even worse, gross.

Anyway, next up looks like Bring Me The Horizon, so talking about controversy, stay tuned!

album review: 'dna' by backstreet boys

So here's a difficult question: what does a Backstreet Boys album sound like in 2019?

Here's a better question: what should a Backstreet Boys album sound like 2019? Because while I'd argue there might be a market for the long-running boy band to deliver a project that imitates the sound of what made them famous twenty years ago, the group has always striven to update their sound with the times, from the pop rock flourishes on their underrated mid-2000s output to the Red-One-infused club boom pivot of 2009 to the embrace of broader, sunnier textures in 2013 for In A World Like This, of which I defended in one of my first ever reviews because it gave all of them the space to really exercise their harmonies. Yeah, there were some dull acoustic moments, but big flashy pop has always been a good fit for them and I really enjoyed that album - hell, a song from it even made my list of the best songs of 2013!

But in 2019... look, pop music is not really in a healthy place, and I wasn't at all convinced the Backstreet Boys would be able to persist amidst trap beats and an increased unnecessary reliance on Autotune - I hadn't been a fan of 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' for succumbing to those cliches, and I had no reason to believe this new album wouldn't face similar issues. And again, this is coming from a fan who has seen them live twice and could compile a healthy list of favourites from all of their albums... but I call it like I see it. especially when I saw their list of co-writers and producers. But hey, I had to hope, right, so what did we get off of DNA?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 2, 2018

This was a weird week. A pretty busy one, to be sure, and some things did turn out as I had predicted, but overall... it's not often you can say that our new arrivals span between k-pop, Lil Baby, Kevin Gates, and the Backstreet Boys - yeah, we'll be getting to that one, I did not see that coming at all! And that's very telling of the Hot 100 right now: there doesn't seem to be any one musical movement that's driving the pop culture conversation with any sustainability, and we're ripe to see everything blow apart.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 18, 2017 (VIDEO)

Weird week. Busy as hell, but weird all the same, I have to say.

Next up, though, is finally Sun Kil Moon - enjoy!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 18, 2017

So this was a weird week. I wouldn't call it a bad week - any chart where we get less Future than expected is a net positive - but the new arrivals and shifts reflect not quite a lull but a Hot 100 where nothing is quite as stable as it seems. There have been a lot of fluctuations here - and with a big debut from Ed Sheeran coming next week I can definitely see that continuing - which I tend to see as a net positive overall, it keeps things kinetic to avoid the massive stalls that did considerable damage in 2014 and 2016.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

album review: 'in a world like this' by the backstreet boys

I have been a fan of the Backstreet Boys for almost fifteen years.

They weren't just a band I grew up with, they were the very first band of which I was ever a hardcore fan. I own physical copies of all of their albums. I've sung Backstreet Boys songs in karaoke and in talent shows. I can play their music on the piano. I've seen them live, and I'll be seeing them again in less than a week. They are the quintessential late 90s boy band and they have earned their place in popular culture, and I'm proud to call myself a fan.

...and because I said all of this, some of you will immediately disqualify any review I give henceforth as either the gushing of an admirer or the nitpicking of a displeased fanboy. You'll probably say that there's no way I could possibly be impartial when it comes to this band, and thus my review is invalid because of some nebulous 'bias'. Now I could go on for hours how this disqualification is absolutely asinine (in fact, I already did), but I find myself pausing a little more when I consider my love of the Backstreet Boys. Is it possible that since this band was part of my childhood, I view their material with rose-coloured nostalgia? Am I giving too much credit to a pop act, particularly given my well-documented tendency of reading too much into things?

Well, maybe, but then again, I haven't exactly disabled my critical faculties when reflecting on The Backstreet Boys, and the band's material isn't immune from honest analysis or criticism. For example, I don't have particularly kind words for The Backstreet Boys' first album, most of which is catering to the Europop bandwagon and lacks significant personality. They would iron some of the kinks out before Backstreet's Back, but there are still major duds on that album. In fact, come to think of it, I would argue that all of their albums had at least one song that didn't work in the slightest (Millennium comes the closest to consistent excellence, but to me, 'It's Gotta Be You' just didn't come together). And while I'll defend their 2005 comeback album Never Gone more than most (seriously, between 'Siberia', 'Forces of Nature', 'Lose It All', and 'I Still...', that album deserves way more credit than it gets), I don't have many kind words to say about the two albums they made without Kevin Richardson in 2007 and 2009. I wouldn't call them precisely bad (okay, most of This Is Us is pretty awful), but considering the heights of which they were capable, they were disappointments. And obviously the less said about that New Kids On The Block experiment, the better.

But going back through their discography in preparation for this review, I was reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with this band in the first place. In my review of The Brilliancy EP, I talked about the three factors required to make good pop music: solid, catchy instrumentation/production (plus a hook); good lyrics/vocal delivery; and sincerity. And while The Backstreet Boys have definitely slipped up more than a few times with the first two factors, they've never become cynical or pandering or showed anything less than complete sincerity. What other band would make 'Larger Than Life', one of the biggest hits of their career, an explicit love letter to their fans? In comparison to an act like N'Sync (yeah, I'm going here, deal with it), the Backstreet Boys sounded looser and ever so slightly more organic (particularly on Millennium, Never Gone, and Unbreakable). Yes, they were occasionally hyperbolic and yes, they were occasionally jokey and cheesy, but they were always willing to include themselves as part of the joke and just run with it. If you were laughing, rest assured they were laughing with you, and yet you could tell there was genuine emotion in their delivery. People respond well to that sort of sincerity, and it's no surprise that over a decade after their heyday, there are still hardcore Backstreet Boys fans (myself included).

So when I heard they were released a new album this year, I had a moment of elation that was very quickly drowned out by some real concerns. For starters, they're not getting any younger, and if This Is Us taught the world anything, it was that modern production didn't always fit well with The Backstreet Boys (to say nothing of autotune, which didn't fit at all). And yes, it was awesome that Kevin was back, but would they manage to have that flair and personality over fifteen years into their careers, that unique presence to stand up against their personality-bereft and far less talented peers in One Direction? And as much as I really, really wanted this album to be great, I knew that the Backstreet Boys' last consistently good album came out in 2005. 

So how does In A World Like This fare?

Youtube review after the jump