Backstreet boys

Why do all generations love the Backstreet Boys?

It was late 1997 and Hanson-mania had taken hold in Australia. ‘MMMBop’ dominated the airwaves, and the boys of Oklahoma’s androgynous faces populated the magazine stands of every news agency, convenience store and gas station.

I was in the thick of it, gobbling up all the information available in the pre-internet days. This led to the purchase of an edition of TV hits which featured Hanson on its cover and included the printed lyrics to the Backstreet Boys’ latest single, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”.

The song has become such an integral part of pop culture that it’s hard to imagine a world without it, but reading its lyrics for the first time raised a number of questions. Mainly, who wereAlleyand why did the announcement of their return deserve an entire song? Not just any old song either, but one of sufficient import to take up valuable column space in TV hits.

It wasn’t long before “Everybody” overtook “MMMBop” in commercial radio’s high spin stakes and those issues faded into the background. The hits “As Long As You Love Me” and “All I Have to Give” followed in quick succession and now, 22 years later, BSB are by far the most enduring and successful boy band in the world.

In Australia, Backstreet’s airwave takeover had begun with “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”, which reached number 10 on the ARIA charts and appeared on their 1996 self-titled debut album.

The major idol of the group, Nick Carter, was only 16 years old at the time of his release. The Guardianby Kate Hutchinson described Carter as the proto-Justin Bieber and as a result, he quickly became the object of naïve fantasies for many young girls and boys.

street boys‘, the fourth single, ‘Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)’, did not sell as quickly as ‘I’ll Never Break Your Heart’, but became a resounding fan favorite for years to come. According to crowdsourced archives setlist.fmit is BSB’s fifth most-played song, with the top four all coming from later albums.

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BSB’s unparalleled domination of the charts

“Quit Playing Games” is also significant for being the first US top ten written by Swedish super-producer Max Martin, who went on to write hits for Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Pink, Katy Perry and many more.

Martin became BSB’s go-to man throughout a streak of unparalleled chart dominance that spanned from their debut in 1996 to 1997. Backstreet’s Back’99 Millennium and the 2000s Black & Blue.

This period spawned tracks like “I Want It That Way,” “Larger Than Life,” and the aforementioned “Everybody” and “As Long As You Love Me,” all of which were written or co-written by Martin.

Watch: Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way”


BSB doesn’t like the boy band label, which is fair enough considering the band members are in their late thirties to mid-forties. Male vocal group is the preferred nomenclature, but when the quintet of AJ, Howie, Nick, Kevin and Brian emerged from Orlando, Florida in the mid-1990s, their boyish side was central to the way they captivated teenage and preteen audiences. .

This childishness was, however, always intertwined with a not-so-low-key sexuality and underpinned by genuine vocal chops that meant their performances were never dependent on pre-recorded backing tracks.

The continued appeal of the Backstreet Boys

These factors helped the Backstreet Boys never run out of steam. These may not be the most prevalent vocals in contemporary pop, but the band’s 2019 release, DNA, reached number one in the United States and its lead single, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, earned ARIA Gold accreditation.

From May 2017 to April 2019, BSB – which currently includes the five original members – completed the show of 80 larger than life residency in Las Vegas, earning an estimated US$36 million in the process.

They went straight from the Vegas residence to the DNA World Tour, their biggest global footslog in 20 years. The tour will reach Australia in May 2020 for half a dozen arena shows across the country.

Before reaching Australia, BSB will have performed over 100 mostly sold-out shows across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Nostalgia is strong at Backstreet Boys concerts, of course, but nostalgia alone can’t sustain such a long string of hits. the DNA the tour setlists include seven of the 12 tracks from the new album, as well as seven of Millenniumwhile recapping all of BSB’s successes over the past 23 years.

A common criticism leveled at boy bands is that their success relies more on the marketing of individual personalities than on the quality of the music. The Backstreet Boys catalog has its fair share of disposable album filler, but even pop music purists with a bitter vendetta against boy bands couldn’t deny the melodic strengths of the band’s many cross-generational hits.

Backstreet is back, okay.

Watch: Backstreet Boys – “Everyone”

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The DNA World Tour – Australia 2020

Wednesday May 20
Brisbane Entertainment Center

friday may 22
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

Saturday May 23
Qudos Bank Arena – New Show!

tuesday 26 may
Rod Laver Stadium, Melbourne

Wednesday May 27
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – New show!

Saturday May 30
RAC Arena, Perth


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