‘Backstreet Boys, we don’t stop. We just keep going’ – Brian Littrell
I was unsure as to whether I was ever going to review this album (publicly at least) or not. I mean, think you’ll all agree there’s quite enough Backstreet Boys chat on the blog as is without adding any more. However, it’s not often they release new music and their latest album DNA is something I need to talk about. And not necessarily for the reasons you might think.
Another reason I’ve left doing a review so long (the album has been out almost 6 weeks now) is that, much like their last album, it’s taken a few listens to really sink in. Sadly, gone are the days of the late 90s where I was hooked on first listen. But has the quality of the music changed or is some expectation management needed on my part? Let’s find out shall we….
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
First single released last summer and it gave me hopes that we were off to a strong start. Whilst it was a grower, it grew pretty quickly and had now has a coveted spot on my running playlist. The video is slick and their dance routines as tight as ever. Since the last album was quite low key and acoustic, it was nice to feel they were going back to their pop roots a little bit.
I’m really digging the electropop route they’re going down, which I know is super trendy but seems like a natural progression for them. I think what bothers me most about this song is it feels like it’s building for something but never quite gets there, like eating a screwball and realising there’s no bubblegum in the bottom. I do approve of them singing about drinking red wine though. Ever the classy fellas.
Fans seem to be going crazy for this song because it’s very similar to a song on their first album (Just To be Close to You) in that it’s a completely acapella. I was never the biggest fan of Just To Be Close.. however, I am completely on board with them doing more acapella stuff. This has been a surprise grower for me and now one of the standouts. I think my dad would like it, and he has excellent taste in BSB songs.
I don’t really know where to start with this song. I mean musically it’s got a killer beat, but lyrically, it’s dreadful, I mean, the first line is ‘Who are you, the sex police?’. Oh dear. I also think that considering some recent accusations that have faced certain members of the group, the specific lyrics that are sung by those certain members are a tad ill advised. This is very much the PDA (from This is Us) of DNA. The whole thing is just really creepy
Potential single IMHO. I’ve never been shy about the fact that I like their up-tempo stuff way more than their slowies and despite sounding a little too much like Maroon 5 for my liking, it’s a strong song. I imagine they could have lots of fun with it performing it live so I hope it makes the tour setlist.
Is It Just Me
Probably the song in this album that sounds most like the stuff on In A World Like This, it’s dreamy and soft and a good song, well sung however don’t really pack much of a punch and is quite forgettable. Brian nails the ad libs at the end though, as usual.
Joint album favourite for me. It was released just before Christmas and even made it on to the Radio 2 playlist (go them!) Produced by Ryan Tedder and co-written by Shawn Mendes it was never going to be a duffer, and it’s a classic Backstreet mid tempo belter. I’m in love with all their voices (even Howie’s) on this and can’t wait to hear them perform it live on tour this summer.
Fun fact: my favourite song by a mile off their last album was a song called Feel Like Home (check it out, it’s brilliant). This feels like an almost carbon copy lyrically, just set to a more country style sound, which since they’ve recently collaborated with Florida Georgia Line isn’t surprising. It’s cute and gets stuck in your head after a few listens. Video is cringe though…
*Warning* shit lyrics alert *warning* Probably my second least favourite song (after New Love) on the album. The chorus isn’t actually that bad but the verses are just awful. Kind of like when Beyonce used to write for Destiny’s Child and crammed too many words into a sentence when they didn’t quite fit. Just a dull mid tempo filler album track unfortunately.
The Way it Was
Co album favourite with Chances. There was some buzz around this when it was previewed on the last BSB cruise (yes, that’s a real thing) so I kind of already knew I liked it but hearing it in it’s entirely is a joy to the ears and makes up for Chateau. The modern spin on a do-wop style ballad works and it fits their voices perfectly.
Just Like You Like It
Aww I reckon this will be Ang’s favourite on the album because she loves a good hand clappy, arms in the air inoffensive mid-tempo ballad. And while that sounds like I’m being a bit snarky, I’m not. This was another grower on me and definitely falls into the better half of the album category. And I can’t wait to clap and sway with Ang if they do this live on tour.
A disappointing album closer. Sure, it’s catchy but only in a nursery rhyme plinky plonky kind of way. In all honesty they’ve recorded b-sides that are better than this. It is however nice to hear Kevin and Howie getting more vocals, I love Nick but there he was starting to get a bit too ‘lead singer’ for my liking recently and hearing their voices blend together is what made them so great in the first place
Although there are some decent tunes, it’s honestly like they just gave up on half of the album. I’ve given it enough time now and while i’m sure a couple of songs will continue to grow on me, there are some that I just can’t get on board with. I completely understand that they’re all in the 40s now so aren’t going to be prancing around on Saturday morning TV in yellow parachute pants anymore but I still think there’s a middle ground somewhere that’s better than what’s on this album. Is it a good adult/contemporary pop album? Yes. Is it a good Backstreet Boys album? No.
One thing I will say is that I’m going to reserve a bit of judgement for after I’ve seen them on tour in June. Quite a few times i’ve seen a song i’m not that amped on performed live and it resonates in a completely different way which makes me love it. I’m never going to think New Love is ok though.