Released in 2019, 12 tracks, 40 min
A Loud Unexpected Return
Six years, six whole years it’s been since we last heard from the ageless boyband that is Backstreet Boys. The last time we heard from Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough and AJ McLean was in 2012 when they released their last studio album In a World Like This. We, fans of BSB have been waiting ever since, having to make do with their timeless songs on our devices and then like a thief in the night, they have found their way back with new music. DNA is an album that without a doubt breezes out a more mature sound for the legendary boy band. It is also noteworthy that this is their first release back as a five-piece since they dropped “Never Gone” in 2005. Kevin Richardson left the group and was notably absent in their projects up until DNA. After making we lovers of BSB wait for six good years, does this album make it up to us? My answer will be an outright YES! This might actually be the Backstreet Boys’ best album since they released Black and Blue in the year 2000. The album may not hit the commercial heights as well as get all of the hype that the albums they released in the late 90s did, it still has enough to gain music lover’s attentions. DNA sees Backstreet Boys infuse the maturity they’ve garnered over the years into the kind of pop hooks they dominated the charts with back in the day. It obviously is also a more interesting record than last album In A World Like This. DNA rarely deviated from the Backstreet Boy’s harmony-driven pop sound while evolving their production to fit today’s sound which worked perfectly as it earned the group their first Grammy nomination in 17 years. That evolution carries throughout all of DNA’s 12 tracks, while also presenting Backstreet Boys’ most diverse set yet, taking in pop, R&B, 80s synths, Country and EDM influences.
The lead single of the album “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was a song that had me stand still for a while, not even believing that it was a song performed by the Backstreet Boys. The members of the boyband alongside their production team had sought out a way to crack into the modern pop scene with the song being their first to chart in the United States since 2007’s “Inconsolable” and also turned out to be their biggest hit since 2005’s “Incomplete.” It totally resonates with we their long-term fans as well as fans of the modern pop landscape. Its beats blend in well with the larger-than-life harmonies the band has come to be well known for and once the catchy chorus kicks in, you realize the song makes a strong case to be one of the band’s best hits even if it will have to do a whole lot to beat the likes of “I Want It That Way” and “As Long As You Love Me.” It is just the kind of music we need from the Backstreet Boys in this day and age.
Respect For Legendary Vocals
I’ll like to call this song a showoff song. “Breathe” is a song that sees the boy band showcase the best of their vocal abilities on the entire DNA album. It is a low-tempo song that sees instrumentals kept to a bare minimum to allow powerful vocals shine through. One of the best songs on the album and a song that sees the Backstreet Boys prove that they really are legends in this music business. The Country-themed “No Place” showcases the Backstreet Boys at what they are best known for. The guitar strings combined with the emotive and relatable lyrics are classic Backstreet Boys and the acapella harmonies around the one minute fifty mark are pretty mind-blowing. One of the major musical qualities that have marked them apart over the years have been those killer harmonies and it feels refreshing to know that didn’t go anywhere over the years.
Insane Harmonics Carry The Message
A song I really liked initially but got bored of after a while. “No Place” is R&B-themed and passes a beautiful message across with the beautiful hook “I've been all around the world, done all there is to do, but you'll always be the home I wanna come home to” enough to melt even the strongest of hearts, the song still seemed a bit lacking in a few other areas. A good mature song without a doubt but by the standards created by this boy band over the years, it definitely does fall short. R&B-themed Is it just me has to be my favorite track on the album. The song kicks off with an opening piano riff that draws similarities to The Chainsmokers’ hit single “Closer.” Is it just me is a slow song that sees BSB delve into the troubles of modern-day relationships? The instrumentals back the vocals up perfectly and of course the insane harmonics were at play here once again.
A Totally Different Sound
This right here is a sound totally different from what we have been accustomed to from the Backstreet Boys over the years. The dirty bass groove is catchy and the vocal delivery on the chorus is different to anything we’ve heard from the guys before. They did pull it off well but a true fan of the boys know they can do a whole lot better. They tried to match into untested territories with this one and did all they possibly could. As mentioned earlier, DNA is without a doubt the strongest album that Backstreet Boys have released since their classic 2000 release Black & Blue. They did find a formula to make this into a workable project and it did look like they had a lot of fun making it. There’s a renewed energy to the band - possibly with Kevin being back - and that has its effect on the vocal arrangements and songs on this record. DNA also gives the band a very strong set of tracks to play live when they head out on their World Tour later in the year.
Some Fantastic Synth Pop Skill Are Wasted On Backstreet Boys’ Comeback Album DNA
Go ahead & call me old, but I can vividly remember girls singing “Quit Playin’ Games (With My Heart)” & swooning over the different – though actually pretty identical – members of Backstreet Boys as I waited in the cafeteria line back in what was likely 2nd or 3rd grade for my nineties-ass, my friends & I forced to compare ourselves to these seemingly-perfect men from an incredibly early age, a scenario I’m certain influenced my more feminist-leaning ideals as I progressed in life. These guys have been a mainstay in Pop culture ever since, with everyone in my generation holding their particular brand of Bubblegum Pop goodness up as gospel, the differences between them & *NSYNC being the mainstream-equivalent of the West Coast/East Coast battles happening in Hip Hop at the same time; As such, I was genuinely intrigued when they’d announced a new album was dropping at the beginning of 2019, with DNA being their first album in nearly 6 years & the first one anyone actually cared about since 1999’s absolute banger Millennium, feeling like it was about time they’d made their return to the radio, especially considering how stagnant the mainstream Pop market had become in their absence – Well, you can colour me fooled, as this album not only misses the mark by a couple of years in terms of current musical trends but also makes me retroactively hate my youthful obsession with them back in the day, realizing they’ve always been a bit behind the times in comparison to their contemporaries.
Strong Electric Currents Give DNA A Great Start
Before my expectations were utterly shattered upon the full release of DNA, Backstreet Boys pushed out several initial singles to garner attention & hype for their upcoming record debut, hitting us with what were & still are easily the best three tracks on the entire album, a notion that may come back to bite them in the end as they weren’t necessarily the best compositions in the world. The first one to really gain some traction was “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” a track that capitalized on the eighties-inspired New Wave Synth Pop sensibilities that’d taken over the entire music industry from 2014 to 2017, although rather than loosely adhering to the style like LANY or BØRNS do, they push things to the limit with a composition ripped straight out of a Miami Vice outro or an inspiring Teen Drama about overcoming your fears in a new school to become the most popular punk-nerd around – If these analogies aren’t quite doing the trick for ya, I’m essentially saying this track had everything it needed to be a real success, churning out delightfully radiant multi-layered vocal harmonies that proved the aging musicians cstill had their chops, heart-pounding digital dance rhythms that made you wanna freak the whole dancefloor & surprisingly mature lyrics that felt appropriate given how old the group’s members have become. It was a bold step in the right direction, one that promised listeners Backstreet really was back & that everything was going to be alright, but this would prove to be too hard an image to uphold as the rest of the album’s tracks squandered this good faith almost instantaneously, the most damaging culprit being yet-another single that dropped before the album ever even came out…
No Second Chances For Old Men
Whereas “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” showed Backstreet Boys’ willingness to change with the times, albeit with a song that was at times tonally inconsistent & a bit repetitive, their other single “Chances” turned into an absolutely devastating blunder that hurt the group’s image moving forward without them even realizing how much trouble they were in – As a band that formed back in the nineties when sexuality was just starting to become normalized & overbearing masculinity was still seen as a desirable trait in modern music, the group undoubtedly have a few problematic narrative tendencies when it comes to songwriting, placing much of their focus on the whole tall-dark-&-handsome routine that once governed the Teen Pop market; Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite transfer well to this song, as every single singer’s advances feel incredibly rape-y & uncaring, made even worse by the fact this song came out post #metoo movement, making it clear these old heartthrobs are as out of touch with their audiences today as they were back in the day. Everything from the unbalanced recording quality to the forcefully-masculine lyrics are just a bit off-putting, feeling not only like stories these nearly 50-year old performers have no right singing anymore but like anachronistic expressions of love that don’t quite fit in with today’s melodic sensibilities, falling flat amongst an audience that should have received them with open arms; This amateurish production continues on tracks like “Chateau,” “Passionate” & “The Way It Was” that feature so much tinny treble with painfully-soft low-end percussion you’d think it was recorded in someone’s guest bathroom, whilst others like “No Place” feels so incredibly generic you can literally hear the exact piano chord progression, swinging Soft Rock rhythms & celebratory vocal melodies of Charlie Puth & Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again.”
Maybe It’s Time To Let The Old Ways Die
As much as I love trashing all the radio-friendly Pop acts of the last decade or so & the simple-minded interests of mainstream audiences, it genuinely saddens me to see a once-legendary act like Backstreet Boys get things so embarrassingly wrong with what should’ve been the majestic revival of their career, but DNA goes above & beyond to prove that every dog has their day & all musicians aren’t created equal. Maybe they just got lucky with their productions tuff back in the nineties, or maybe they cared about the music they were producing a whole lot more when they were at the top of their game, but DNA instills more melancholy in me than it does elation whenever I see it queued up to stream – Thankfully, there’re a handful of solid tunes working as the glue that keeps this record together, tracks like “Nobody Else” that seamlessly integrate the band’s delicate Boy Band sounds into the popular Future Bass ideals of last year, whilst “Breathe” gives a wonderfully soothing, passionate arrangement of Boyz II Men-style acapella R&B harmonies that warm the heart, letting us know they’re not quite dead yet. Still, I can’t help feeling that these one-off tracks aren’t enough to save the album as a whole, its overall sonic vibe so beholden to trends from over two years ago that it’s pretty much impossible for them to appeal to anyone but the most diehard fan from my demographic who still has their first CD sitting in the center console of their car after downloading & burning one of those Ultimate Car Jams mixes for their crush – But hey, maybe this is just a sign that the Backstreet-ers need to move on to a new sound entirely, leaving behind the Boy Band methods they popularized in favour of some truly artistic musicianship in the future.
Official Music Videos
- Jan 25, 2019
- Stuart Crichton
- Kuk Harrell
- Jamie Hartman
- Ryan OG
- Steve James
- Ben Bram
- Elof Loelv
- Jake Troth
- The Stereotypes
- The Wild
- Mitch Allan
- Ian Kirkpatrick
- Ryan Tedder
- Zach Skelton
- Steven Solomon
- Ross Copperman
- Josh Kear
DNA is the ninth studio album by the Backstreet Boys. It was released on January 25, 2019 by RCA Records. The album features tracks written by Lauv, Andy Grammer, and Stuart Crichton. It was preceded by the singles "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", "Chances", "No Place", and will be supported by a world tour, the band's most expansive in 18 years, beginning on May 11, 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal, before visiting North America in July 2019. The album is their first on Sony Music Entertainment since In a World Like This (2013), which was released independently through BMG. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming the Backstreet Boys' first number-one album since 2000.Continue reading at Wikipedia...