20 Years Backstreet: Oh My God, They’re Back Again

20 Years Backstreet: Oh My God, They’re Back Again

If you were a middle-school girl in the ’90s, you chose sides: it was N*SYNC or Backstreet Boys. Your allegiance defined friendships, taste in men and even the soundtrack to your talent show dance number. There was no room for middle ground (except in cases of indisputable classics like “I Want It That Way” and “Bye, Bye, Bye”). For a while, it looked like the teenybopper debate had been settled singlehandedly by talent machine Justin Timberlake effortlessly carrying his otherwise forgotten team to victory. BSB had all but disappeared. Until now. Backstreet is back, with all five members making music together for the first time in seven years. With a brand new album and world tour, the newly reconstituted man band, as I’ve just dubbed them, has one-upped their No Strings Attached rivals and set a new standard of longevity for today’s rising boy bands.

In June, BSB released a lyric video for their jangly, upbeat single “In a World Like This.” The film documents the history of the band via animated timeline, from its official founding on April 20, 1993, to the July 2013 release of the album In a World Like This. The timeline (rightfully) wants viewers to see how much butt the boys were kicking in their heyday. Millennium came out in 1999 followed by Black & Blue just a year later. The second recording earned five Grammy nominations, and BSB won Best-Selling Pop group at the World Music Awards for three years in a row! Absent from the video recap, however, is mention of when their stardom took a turn: In 2001, the band unexpectedly canceled a slew of tour dates while A.J. MacLean sought treatment for alcoholism and depression. That turned into a three-year hiatus. In 2006, Kevin Richardson quit, leaving his band mates floundering.

backstreetboy1Now the prodigal pop star is back, and the group is riding high on renewed energy. In a recent interview, BSB offered wisdom from the biz to popular boy bands of today like Britain’s One Direction and The Wanted. “Communicate, be honest and open,” said MacLean. Still-baby-faced Brian Litrell, Richardson’s cousin, talked about learning to be more patient with each other during the creative process. The Boys recommend practicing a lot, practicing a capella, and, most important, striving to create music that is not only catchy but timeless.

That’s right, fellas. Sweepy hair and fitted hoodies can only carry you so far without an “I want it that way” karaoke classic or epic R & B slow jam like “I’ll never Break Your Heart.”

Backstreet Boys Perform At The Grove

They might also have mentioned: Don’t be afraid to grow up. The group’s newest songs speak to more adult issues than cheating on your GF. And they’d better! The youngest member, Nick Carter is an aging dreamboat at 33 and senior member Richardson is 41. For In a World, the guys contributed more songwriting than ever before, and some even did it as dads—MacLean and Richardson helped write “Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)” for their kids. Awww.

Some things haven’t changed, of course. YouTube footage of a spring show in Shanghai shows BSB taking the stage with matching outfits and perfunctory hip-hop choreography, including the original “Thriller”-esque moves from the 1997 single Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). And instruments are nowhere to be seen.

The 20th Anniversary Tour, which feels more like a reunion, is taking the Boys across the U.S. and Japan between now and October. Their final performances are scheduled aboard the Carnival Imagination cruise ship, better known as the SS Backstreet. YES.

By: Andrea Marks (NY Contributor)

Photos: by Fameflynet /by Roberta Baker/

Video: YouTube

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Wayne Andres

Creator, Editor In Chief at DaysTune.com - "I went on a Twitter rant once; no one cared - Celebrities have all the fun".

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