Review: Sway – Verses from the Vault 1&2

‘Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness’ – Maya Angelou

Music is undeniably one of my biggest passions which I don’t get chance to wrote about nearly enough. That’s my own fault really because I don’t listen to as much new stuff as I used to. I’m in my mid 30s now whilst I still listen to radio 1 to keep up with what the kids are into these days I pretty much know what I like and stick with it. I’m nothing if not loyal

Every now and then an artist comes along who changes the way you listen to music. For me, UK rapper Sway is one of those people. I’d been of fan of the track Saturday Night Hustle he did with Lemar in 2008 and then the song Level Up released in 2012 which still remains on my running playlist to this day.


His 2015 Album Deliverance very quickly earned a spot on my top ten albums of all time so needless to say I’ve been itching to hear some new material.

Praise be to the rap gods that Sway released Verses from the Vault volumes 1 and 2 and as the name suggests; whilst not strictly an album of new material,  it’s actually 2 albums of previously unreleased material. So, new to me, and that’s all that counts.


One of the things I love most about Sway, and artists like him (namely Childish Gambino) is that their content isn’t your stereotypical ‘money cash hoes’ that you might expect from someone from a rap/grime artist from North London. It’s much, much deeper than that. In fact, the only thing Sway really boasts about, is his work ethic. And in a country of zero hours contracts and ‘discouraged workers’ being at an all time high, is that something we should really be criticizing someone for?

Had I not known (and it not being glaringly obvious from the title) that this was a collection of previously unreleased songs of yore, I would have firmly and happily believed that Verses from the Vaults was a brand new album as it stands up valiantly next to Deliverance. The albums are split between Sway’s two heritages; volume 1 a tribute to his Ghanaian roots and volume 2 a nod to his London upbringing.

Stand out tracks for me are King, a beautifully articulated dedication to Michael Jackson,  Mirror, a dedication to his daughter (I’m guessing) which in these times of misogynistic american presidents and clubs of elitist British aristocrats perving over waitresses, is refreshing to hear and Topboy, partly because it’s mostly clever lyrics against a very simple beat but mostly because he references Rugrats. Which is my all time favourite cartoon. Ever.

If you haven’t heard Sway before it’s hard to describe his style because he’s not really anyone who can be pigeonholed. Some tracks like Still Speedin from Deliverance and Prince from Verses from the Vault 2 wouldn’t be out of place in Chase & Status set (or on the A list on Radio 1 in my opinion) yet there are songs like Never Enough (from Verses from the Vault 1) which are so lyrically intricate that you have to stop everything you’re doing to take it all in. For me Sway has always been the perfect gym or sun lounger album. And by that I don’t by any means that it’s throwaway music. What I mean is it’s music you want to listen to when you can really devote your time to the poetry with no distractions

Honorable mention has to go to instrumental track Letter which, even as one of life’s lyrics girls, even I can see that this piece of music should be on a film soundtrack without delay.


If this is the quality of stuff that Sway just has in his back pocket that he was saving for a rainy day then it makes me so excited to hear brand new material. Perhaps he might even be inspired to write a song about the palest and blondest girl in England being his biggest fan? Or at the very least let me to sing the hook to Level Up when does the live shows he’s promised me later this year…..

You can download Verses from the Vault from Apple Music and Spotify now – do it!


Battle of the Backstreet Boys singles

‘Any vehicle that conveys great songs and the ability to perform them, whether it’s ‘N Sync or the Backstreet Boys or One Direction, is all good – Tommy Mottola

It’s been a good few months since I indulged in my favourite pastime (if you don’t include drinking wine) and this is a post I’ve been meaning to write up since Meagan and I had the initial discussion in Vegas back in March.

We were sitting in our hotel room dissecting the amazing Backstreet Boys live show we’d just seen and discussing the setlist, every song we talked about would be followed by a comment by me along the lines of ‘hmm yeah that wasn’t the strongest on that album’ or ‘I never was overly keen on that one’ which sparked Meagan to say in exasperation ‘so which of their songs do you actually like?’

She had a good point. It’s not that I don’t like their singles, of course I do, I am just of the belief that they never release the best songs. Perhaps it’s just that their biggest hits have been so overplayed that I’m a little bit over them, or perhaps it’s that they always seemed to take the safe choice and release the most marketable tunes. Whatever it is, I stand by my opinion that, single wise, they’ve very often sold themselves short.

So let’s have a look back on what they actually released compared to what they could have released instead, and see how different it all could have been:

Album: Backstreet Boys


Single: We’ve Got it Goin’ On:
Could have been: I Wanna Be With You
Hit or miss: Hit – as far as a debut single goes, it couldn’t have been anything other than this, it was after all, the song that started the long dark round back into the boyband ether I fell into in 1995 (and still haven’t really clawed my way out yet!) so I have to give them this one. I do love I Wanna Be With You though…


Single: I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Could have been: Anything else as far as I’m concerned
Hit or Miss: Massive miss for me. I’ve never EVER liked this song mainly because too much cheese gives me migraines and it’s been my toilet break song at every live song since. A better ballad from that album would have been Darlin’ at a push. But if I never hear this song again for the rest of my life I wouldn’t share any tears (I did love all the knitwear in the original video though however – cosy!)


Single: Get Down
Could have been: Let’s Have a Party
Hit or Miss: Hit – I’m on the fence with this one and it’s only just scraping through as a hit to be honest. It was similar enough to We’ve Got it Goin On to keep the uptempo fans (like me) happy and Let’s Have a Party was equally as cheesy to be fair so would have been a close call. Quite a forgettable single in the grand scheme of things, in fact I’m sure it scored 0 on Pointless once, which says a lot.


Single: Quit Playing Games
Could have been: I Wanna Be With You
Hit or Miss: Hit – Seems I really wanted them to release I Wanna Be With You but understand why it never really made the cut. QPG definitely falls into the overplayed category for me however when I first got their debut album it was the one song that I could hum along to the soonest, so an obviously choice as a single. Plus every 14 years fan was thankful for the music video.


Single: Anywhere for You
Could have been: Just to Be Close To You
Hit or Miss: Miss – they never even bothered to release it in US which speaks volumes. It always felt like a pity release because they didn’t have anything new so I was surprised to see it brought back for their Vegas residency. Even Nick and Brian looked embarrassed singing it. Just to Be Close To You was a way classier song and all their acapella awesomeness would have been brought to the masses.

Album: Backstreet’s Back


Single: Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
Could have been: That’s The Way I Like It
Hit or Miss: Hit – While That’s The Way I Like It is one of, if not my ALL TIME FAVOURITE BSB SONG EVER I can’t deny them their signature song can I? On a recent night out they played Everybody twice (in different bars) it’s what the people want and a world without drunk people trying to do the dance routine isn’t one I want to live in.


Single: As Long As You Love Me
Could have been: That’s The Way I Like It
Hit or Miss – Miss – after releasing Everybody I thought releasing ALAYLM was a safe choice and yes the chair routine was impressive, and I can’t confirm nor deny whether I sprained my ankle trying to recreate it in my living room when I was 15. I think releasing That’s The Way I Like it would have surprised people, and kept the uptempo momentum of Everybody going.


Single: All I Have to Give
Could have been: Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
Hit or Miss – Miss – All I Have To Give isn’t a bad song, it’s a just a bit meh, and as well as being a grammatical nightmare (‘does his gifts come from the heart?’ – well does they?!) it’s too similar to ALAYLM and two mid tempo singles in a row is just lazy. Set Adrift… is in no way a fan favourite, and I understand they didn’t want to release a cover version however apart from the name and the hook it’s almost a totally different song to the original. Set Adrift is just super summery and relaxed – and I love it. But no one ever listens to me…

Album: Millennium


Single: I Want It That Way
Could have been: Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
Hit or Miss: Hit – I actually think Don’t Wanna Lose You Now is a better song however (even my dad agreees – it’s his favourite BSB song ever) IWITW is probably joint signature song along with Everybody so I can’t take that out of the running. It was the final song played at my wedding and all our friends and family danced and sang along before we all collapsed in a heap so it holds a special place in my heart. However that said it does also fall into the ‘over it’ category sometimes and I love Don’t Wanna Lose You Now so much I would hate to ever be over that too.


Single: Larger than Life
Could have been: It’s Gotta Be You
Hit or Miss: Hit – Larger than Life has also been one of the strongest singles of their for me, even my metal loving mate Janine loves the guitar solo bit in it. A very strong pop song which no one can deny. I do Love It’s Gotta be You as well, but don’t think it would have worked as well as a single.


Single: Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely
Could have been: Back To Your Heart
Hit or Miss: Miss – much like All I Have To Give, it’s not a bad song, it’s just a bit ‘boyband by numbers’ and a bit meh, plus the lyrics make little to no sense whatsoever. Back To Your Heart is a much MUCH better ballad form Millennium – the lyrics are constructed in coherent sentences and everything!


Single: The One
Could have been: Don’t Want You Back
Hit or Miss: Miss – another lazy single for the sake of being a single that they threw out because they were too busy on tour. Don’t Want You Back is an amazing song and would have been bloody brilliant and a single. But maybe this is why I don’t work in A&R

Album: Black and Blue


Single: Shape of My Heart
Could have been: The Answer to Our Life
Hit or miss: Miss – Meagan will kill me for this as Shape of My Heart is her all time fave however it’s just predictable to me and smacks of I Want it That Way version 2. I surprised The Answer to Our Life was never a single regardless of else was released, to me it’s their signature but just way more upbeat and catchy and would have produced a fun music video.


Single: The Call
Could have been: Shining Star
Hit or Miss: Hit – finally! They start releasing something a little more edgy! I love The Call, and particularly love the Neptunes remix which was also released along with the single. Shining Star would have served the same purpose; provided a much needed urban/r’n’b element to their back catalogue but in my humble opinion it’s not a very good song at all and would have been panned by the critics as them trying too hard (and they’d have been right).


Single: More Than That
Could have been: Yes I Will
Hit or Miss: Neutral – I’m completely torn with this one as if depends on what the rules are. If we’re swapping out like for like and More Than That needs to be replaced with another ballad then it’s absolutely the right choice as Black & Blue is too cheesy ballad heavy for my liking. However if it can be swapped out for anything then Get Another Boyfriend, Everyone or Not for Me are all brilliant songs which would have made brilliant singles.

Album: Never Gone


Single: Incomplete
Could have been: Safest Place to Hide
Hit or Miss: Hit – I’ve always been a lover of the uptempo songs over the ballads however Incomplete is the exception that proves the rule because it’s probably my second favourite all time BSB song. Never Gone is an underrated album in my opinion actually, it’s moved away from the cheese of Black & Blue and although there are lots of ballads, they have a more acoustic, classy feel. AJ’s voice sounds particularly brilliant on this too.


Single: Just Want You To Know
Could have been: My Beautiful Woman
Hit or Miss: Miss – don’t get me wrong it’s a strong song and the music video is hilarious however while they were making a small change in musical direction with this album, releasing Just Want You To Know felt like a step backwords. My Beautiful Woman is a brilliant song and would have made a brilliant uptempo single to follow Incomplete.


Single: I Still…
Could have been: Climbing The Walls
Hit or Miss: Miss – this was never released in the UK so it kind of passed me by as a single but there’s a music video for it so it makes the cut! It’s a good song and a strong one off the album but I heavily prefer Climbing the Walls over this and always wished they would release it when I first heard the album. It was really cool to hear them singing with real instruments for a change and whilst I would miss their dance routine laden videos, it was a reminder how strong their voices really are.

Album: Unbreakable


Single: Inconsolable
Could have been: Something That I Already Know
Hit or Miss: Miss – I was surprised they were so comfortable releasing a song called Inconsolable, only 3 songs after releasing a song called Incomplete and I’d be lying If I said that’s where the similarities ended as well. It’s not a bad song by any means but again feels like boyband by numbers and Something That I Already Know has an edgier pop-rock feel and is brilliant for wailing along to in the car. So I hear.


Single: Helpless When She Smiles
Could have been: Trouble Is
Hit or Miss: Miss – CHEESY LYRIC ALERT *She opens up just like a rose to me when she’s close to me*  please! There are so many good uptempo songs on this album; Everything But Mine, Panic or Treat Me Right would have all made strong singles rather than releasing yet another ballad. Even Trouble Is – also a ballad – had a country twist to it which would feel like a break from the old routine.

Album: This is Us


Single: Straight Through My Heart
Could have been: Bye Bye Love
Hit or Miss: Hit – clearly on the Redone band wagon that was all around in 2009 (not that that’s a bad thing) this Gaga induced song is strong and and underrated favourite of mine. I LOVE Brian’s voice at during the first verse and although it loses it a bit in chorus where it all goes a bit teenpop, it’s no weaker than another One Direction or JLS were releasing at the same time. Dare I say they seemed to be having more fun without Kevin….?


Single: Bigger
Could have been: This is Us
Hit or Miss: Hit – massive MASSIVE hit! I adore this song so much and it should have done way better commercially than it did. As mentioned above I think they suffered a bit from the influx of younger, more current bands and they lost their place in the charts a little bit however had this song (and in fact whole album) been released by someone else, it would have been huge which is a huge shame. I would have loved to have seen more singles released off this album; Undone, Shattered and If I Knew Then are all great songs.

Album: In A World Like This


Single: In A World Like This
Could have been: Feels Like Home
Hit or Miss: Miss – I get the sentiment, it’s crazy times we live in these days and sometimes all we need to know is that we’ll always have our favourite 5 boys (now Kevin’s returned) singing to us on top of a mountain about how it’s all going to be ok. I just think it’s a medicore song. I really like Feels Like Home, it’s a little on the cheesy side, but that’s never stopped these lads before. And they probably could have been more adventurous with the video too.


Single: Show ‘Em What You’re Made of
Could have been: Try
Hit or Miss: Hit – feels like classic BSB when they were at the top of their game. It ties in with the movie documentary that was released at the same time and was a slow burner of a a song for me but I absolutely love it now and always find myself listening to it for a little pick me up when I feel I need a lyrical kick up the bum. Plus the music video is um, very tastefully and artistically done (absolutely not full of gratuitous shirtless shots).

So actually when I sit down and think about it, it’s a pretty even split with out of 24 songs 11 are a hit, 12 are a miss and one I’m on the fence about however I think when a band are releasing singles they should release their best stuff all the time, there should only be one or two misses tops. That’s just my opinion though and you can’t please all the people all the time.

I mean, I’m sure there are fans out there who will swear I’ll Never Break Your Heart is the best song ever written and recorded. I mean they’d be wrong, but I’m sure they’re out there!

Pick of the Year: 2002


Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. P Diddy feat. Usher – I Need A Girl
  2. Big Brovaz – Nu Flow
  3. Oakenfold – Starry Eyed Surprise
  4. Oasis – Little By Little
  5. Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
  6. Madonna – Die Another Day
  7. A1 – Caught in the Middle
  8. Nelly – Hot in Herre
  9. Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out
  10. N Sync – Girlfriend
  11. Kylie Minogue – In Your Eyes
  12. Shakira – Whenever, Wherever
  13. Beverly Knight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  14. Matchbox 20 – Disease
  15. Westlife – World of Our Own
  16. Appleton – Fantasy
  17. Nickelback – How You Remind Me
  18. Will Smith – Black Suits Comin
  19. Ashanti – Foolish
  20. Avril Lavigne – Complicated
  21. Bowling for Soup – Girl All the Bad Guys Want
  22. Coldplay – The Scientist
  23. Pink – Just Like a Pill
  24. No Doubt – Hey Baby
  25. The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
  26. Eminem – Lose Yourself
  27. Shakira – Underneath Your Clothes
  28. DB Boulevard – Point of View
  29. Darren Hayes – Insatiable
  30. Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground
  31. Amy Studt – Just A Little Girl
  32. Liberty X – Just A Little
  33. Missy Elliott – 4 My People
  34. Codplay – In My Place
  35. Christina Aguilera – Dirrty
  36. Britney Spears – Overprotected
  37. Bachelor Girl – I’m Just A Girl
  38. Pink – Get The Party Started
  39. Alanis Morissette – Hands Clean
  40. Eminem – Without Me

Pick of the Year: 2000

‘Let’s all meet up in the year 2000 won’t it be strange when we’re all fully grown’ – Pulp


Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club I’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. Robbie Williams – Rock DJ
  2. Gabrielle – Rise
  3. Sisqo – The Thong Song
  4. Damage – Ghetto Romance
  5. Ronan Keating – Life is a Rollercoaster
  6. Donnell Jones – You Know What’s Up
  7. Kelis – Caught Out There
  8. Billie Piper – Day & Night
  9. N Sync – Bye Bye Bye
  10. Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue – Kids
  11. Bon Jovi – It’s My Life
  12. Coldplay – Trouble
  13. Eminem – The Real Slim Shady
  14. Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around
  15. Jamelia – Money
  16. Aaliyah – Try Again
  17. Moby – Porcelain
  18. Madonna – Music
  19. Madasun – Don’t You Worry
  20. Spiller – Groovejet
  21. Santana feat. Rob Thomas – Smooth
  22. All Saints – Pure Shores
  23. Matchbox 20 – If You’re Gone
  24. Sonique – Feels So Good
  25. Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight
  26. Madison Avenue – Don’t Call Me Baby
  27. David Gray – Babylon
  28. Destiny’s Child – Jumpin, Jumpin
  29. Gabrielle – Should I Stay
  30. Matchbox 20 – Bent
  31. Anastacia – I’m Outta Love
  32. Eminem – Stan
  33. Britney Spears – Oops I Did it Again
  34. Leann Rimes – Can’t Fight The Moonlight
  35. Melanie C – Never Be The Same Again
  36. A1 – Same Old Brand New You
  37. Mary Mary – Shackles
  38. Fragma – Toca’s Miracle
  39. 5ive – We Will Rock You
  40. Bob the Builder – Can We Fix It

Pick of the Year: 1999

‘They say two thousand zero zero party over, Oops out of time, So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999’ – Prince


Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. Fatboy Slim – Right Here Right Now
  2. Jordan Knight – Give it to You
  3. TLC – No Scrubs
  4. Vengaboys – We Like to Party
  5. Ricky Martin – Livin La Vida Loca
  6. Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
  7. Enrique Eglesias – Bailamos
  8. Backstreet Boys – Larger than Life
  9. S Club 7 – S Club Party
  10. Will Smith – Wild, Wild, West
  11. Terrorvision – Tequila
  12. Madonna – Beautiful Stranger
  13. B*Witched – Blame it on the Weatherman
  14. Wandue Project – King of My Castle
  15. Robbie Williams – Strong
  16. Baz Luhrman – Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)
  17. 5ive – Keep on Movin
  18. Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino
  19. Cardigans – Erase/Rewind
  20. Moloko – Sing it Back
  21. ATB – 9pm (til i come)
  22. Eiffel 65 – Blue
  23. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in LA
  24. Ann Lee – 2 Times
  25. Will Smith – Will2K
  26. Jennifer Lopez – If You Had My Love
  27. Eminem – My Name Is
  28. Semisonic – Secret Smile
  29. A+ – Enjoy Yourself
  30. Fierce – Dayz Like That
  31. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time
  32. Christina Aguilera – Genie in a Bottle
  33. Shaft – Mucho Mambo
  34. Beverley Knight – Greatest Day
  35. 5ive – If Ya Gettin Down
  36. Britney Spears – (You Drive Me) Crazy
  37. Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss Me
  38. New Radicals – You Get What You Give
  39. Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
  40. Westlife – I Have a Dream/Seasons in the Sun
  41. Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch
  42. Len – Steal My Sunshine
  43. Dr Dre – Still DRE
  44. REM – The Great Beyond

Backstreet Boys – Larger than Life in Las Vegas!

‘Bacstreet’s back, alright and this time they’re appealing to everyone’ – Meagan Morris

Back in the late 90s and early 00s the internet was a scary place, so imagine my parents shock when I tell them I’m taking a train to London to meet someone I met in a chat room so we can hang out and talk about boybands for the day? I’m amazed still to this day they let me go! I’m so pleased they did though because that day marked the beginning of an amazing friendship.

For years Meagan and I have wanted to see the group that made us so close together but for whatever reason could never make it work logistically. When The Backstreet Boys announced they were doing a trial residency in Las Vegas we knew we had to make it happen. Those boys aren’t getting any younger and we didn’t know when we would get the chance again.

It’s hard to review a concert of your all time favourite band with one of your all time favourite people objectively but i’m going to try….


It was fucking amazing! They were seriously, seriously good. Between the two fo us we’ve seen them live about 11 times and we both agreed that their Vegas show was one of the most professional, polished show they’ve done.

Before I run out of adjectives to describe how amazing they were i’ll give you a run down of what actually happened. They took to the stage just after 9pm after a really cool remix of all their singles/music videos on the large screens, you forget how many songs they’ve released really! And kicked everything off looking dapper in white with Larger than Life. I won’t run through everything song by song (check out the set list at the bottom if you’re interested) but needless to say they got the crowd’s energy up as they went from one up tempo pop hit to the next.

Show highlights for me were As Long As You Love me, which was never my favourite single but they nailed the chair routine all these years later, We’ve Got it Goin On (which is one of my faves) which they updated and mashed up excellently with Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison and the fact that they included 2 of my favourite album tracks Undone and Get Another Boyfriend.

ALAYLM #chairdance #bsbvegas

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Meagan’s show highlighters were – the montage in the beginning which sounds weird but it got everyone amped for the show. Their version of We’ve Got it On was probably her favourite performance of the night because of the dancing and Shape of my Heart of course which is her all time favourite BSB song. They also came out into the audience and Howie was right in front of us, like touching distance from us, so it doesn’t get much better than that.

QPG #bsbvegas

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Fans will be aware of the recent voice issues that Brian has been struggling but they all killed it, singing completely live through the whole 2 hour show and Brian in particular sounded better than he ever has. They dancing was also super tight and the 10 dancers that joined them on stage were fantastic. The staging worked brilliantly in Planet Hollywood and there appeared to be no real bad seat in the house. We were sitting at the front of the first ‘normal priced’ seating, directly behind the ‘pit’ and VIP seating (we paid about £140 a ticket if you were wondering) and the view was amazing. It also helped that there were catwalks and walkways coming out into the audience so people further back had a better change of getting a good view

When I was bored in Heathrow waiting for my super delayed flight I did what I swore I wouldn’t do and I looked up the set list ahead of time. I was a little disappointed to be honest. I’ve said from the beginning of time that they never release the best songs off their albums (there’s a blog post in there somewhere) and with only 3 of the 20 strong set list being album tracks, they weren’t singing hardly any of my faves. HOWEVER (and this a big however, I wrote it in caps and everything) Whilst their singles may not be my favourites, there’s no denying their singalongability and their gravitational pull to get everyone in the room joining in and having an amazing time. Which made me have an amazing time, so no set list complaints for me any more!

Rocking our bodies right! #bsbvegas

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If i were to pick any holes (because the cynic in me jut has to find fault in everything) the second costume change (of which there were 4) bordered into boring territory where they sang too many ballads back to back in my opinion, although I’m  pleased my obligatory I’ll Never Break Your Heart toilet break came early in the show as my $24 Margarita was starting to work it’s way through. It also felt that they were racing through the set list a little bit and didn’t talk or interact with the audience very much. I get it though, they need to cater for everyone, not just fans like us who’d moved mountains to be there, but also for people who were in Vegas anyway and just fancied seeing them on a whim.

They’re just really minor points though and didn’t detract from the show at all. I’ll admit we were both dubious when we found out they were doing a Vegas residency. It felt like it was pretty ambitious for a group for the majority of common folk are only really known for one or two songs. However never under estimate the power of the Backstreet army as by all accounts it’s been a roaring success. Time will tell whether they lose momentum by the end of their run in July and whether it will be extended further, here’s hoping they do, although I’m not entirely sure my credit card could take it!

I really wanted to avoid using this chiche but Backstreet aren’t back, for us, and the majority of the people in the Axis theatre, they never left. Alright!

Set list:

Larger than Life
The One
Get Down
Quit Playing Games
Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely
I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Anywhere For You
As Long as You Love Me
The Call
We’ve Got it Goin’ On
Get Another Boyfriend
More than That
All I Have to Give
Shape of My Heart
I Want It That Way
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)



10 of the Best: Backstreet Boys album tracks

‘The Backstreet Boys were so ten years ago. Whatever’ – Paris Hilton

I know this post won’t be for everyone so feel very free to hit the little X in the corner (to be honest if you’ve clicked through it’s already logged on my stats so doesn’t really matter if you continue reading or not!) And the next few weeks are probably going to be a bit Backstreet Boys heavy if i’m honest but in honour of my recent trip to Vegas to see my all time faves I thought i’d have a little chat about my favourite music of the mighty BSB.


If i were on Mastermind my chosen subject would probably be Backstreet Boys album tracks, because for me, although obviously their singles are the stuff pop dreams are made of, they have a history of never releasing their best songs. Sadly for every Everybody, there was an Anywhere for You and for every Larger than Life there was a More Than That.

So here are 10 unreleased songs you may want to give a listen to before you condemn them to a boyband cesspit of white outfits and key changes:

I Wanna Be With You
Album: Backstreet Boys

From the Swedish pop factory run by Max Martin this would have made a brilliant single although imagine it was too similar to We’ve Got it Goin on and they’ll have wanted to get a few ballads out to satisfy the soppy tweenagers who didn’t like the dancy stuff. Still, anything would have been better than Anywhere for You *barf*

That’s The Way I Like It
Album: Backstreet’s Back

Not only is this one of my favourite tracks off this album it’s quite possibly my favourite track of theirs of all time. It’s incredible they had such a solid pop song on such an early album (and there are songs on that album we just don’t talk about *ahem*If You Want it to be Good Girl*ahem*) it always seems to be a fan favourite when they perform it live.

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
Album: Backstreet’s Back

Not a popular song among BSB fans I’ve noticed however I loved the original and I love this reworking (which aside from the title is almost a completely different song) It always makes it’s way onto any summer or BBQ playlists, it’s so chilled out and laid back it’s virtually horizontal. Just a bloody good song, well sung.

Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
Album: Millennium

It’s hard picking a favourite song off Millennium as other than The Perfect Fan, it’s all killer but this one always stood out to me and a really lovely classy mid tempo ballad that Brian’s voice sounds amazing on (and i’m historically less of a fan of the ballads) I’d have rather seen this as a single rather than Show Me the Meaning…. but hey, i’m not a marketing executive am i?!

Get Another Boyfriend
Album: Black & Blue

It was always going to hard to follow up Millennium and Black & Black is probably my least favourite BSB album and in a sea of soppy ballads this really stands out. They were obviously trying to go in a more urban direction and releasing this may have gained them a bit more critical credibility. I also loved dace routine when they performed it life on the B&B tour

Climbing the Walls
Album: Never Gone

Another change in direction with a way more stripped back and acoustic album this song has a way more rockier edge than anything they’ve done before and I think they really pull it off. Let’s face it they couldn’t be singing Boy Will Be Boys forever so it’s nice to hear them sounds a little more grown up, you know, with drums and guitars and stuff!

Something That I Already Know
Album: Unbreakable

Unbreakable is such an underrated album in my eyes, there are loads of good songs on it. I’ve already stated I’ve never been a massive fan of the ballads however being album 6 the ballads were getting less cheese, more class. Their voices have never sounded better (Nick particularly is less whiny) and it’s a real belter of a song

Album: Unbreakable

I love the 60’s vibe, i think they always come into their own when they sound like they’re having fun with a song and this is super fun. It makes me want to dance around like the khakis GAP advert from the 90s and i love the way Brian pronounces ‘bay-bay’

Album: This Is Us

Another underrated album although there are some stinkers on it (PDA for one is total fromage) however i think this is one of the darkest songs they’ve ever done and a total contrast from some of the more lightweight fluffy songs they’ve done in the past. The sexy moody vibe really suits them

Feels Like Home
Album: In A World Like This

This album was definitely a grower for me, on first listen it felt like they’d sucked all the fun out of their music and were taking themselves too seriously again however i have grown to become quite fond of a couple of tracks on it. This is undoubtedly the stand out track for and bucks the trend of over produced album. Yes the lyrics are a little cliched but it’s so feelgood I defy anyone not to smile when listening to it. It’s a shame it’s never been performed live to date, i think it would go down a storm.