Backstreet Boys: 30 years of the beloved vocal group
On April 20, 1993, a group of teenagers – AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, and cousins Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell – formed a vocal group named Backstreet Boys. Throughout the next 30 years, they went on to release ten studio albums and sold over 130 million records worldwide, establishing their status as one of the most successful boy bands in history.
The band had some humble beginnings, spending two years performing in small venues before releasing their first single in 1995. They would go on to be one of the most iconic bands of the '90s and redefine the idea of boy bands. "I Want It That Way" and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" are perhaps their most iconic songs, being used in various pop culture media and the ones most commonly heard even if you are not a fan of the group. However, their single "Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)" is the song which truly put them on the map.
Throughout the years, their style evolved with the times, from their R&B roots to pop-rock, modern pop, and EDM. Despite middling and underrated reception in some cases, their albums have consistently made it to the top ten of Billboard 200. Without a doubt, their influence runs wide, as they paved the way for not only their contemporaries such as NSYNC but also other boy bands like Big Time Rush and One Direction.
The group has had some hurdles along the way. Kevin Richardson had left the band for some years but eventually re-joined. Most boy bands tend to break up indefinitely after a few years, but somehow BSB persevered and have continued to make music together, with their latest album A Very Backstreet Christmas being released last year in 2022.
Of course, I am not here to just give a history lesson on the band, but rather to celebrate their music and how they have remained relevant and iconic even after three decades. If you are someone who grew up between the 1990s and 2000s, BSB has probably been a part of your childhood in one way or another. My older brother introduced me to their music and that nostalgia makes them a band I keep coming back to. Besides their most popular songs from the '90s, I personally find their songs from their post-2000s albums Black and Blue and Never Gone to be quite endearing. All of their songs have relatable and romantic lyrics, and while their earlier songs might seem cheesy (albeit super catchy) they have some powerful and mature romantic ballads such as "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" and "Shape of My Heart".
Nostalgia might be one of the aspects which keeps them going strong, but I believe the dedication BSB has towards their craft is what makes them so great. Their modern songs maintain their signature vibe without relying entirely on that '90s style. Among their modern releases, my personal favourite is "Show 'Em (What You're Made Of)", as the song not only has an inspirational theme but the sound and composition encapsulates their evolution and exactly why generations of fans can resonate with their music.
In their song "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)", there is a lyric which goes, "As long as there'll be music, we'll be coming back again." By the looks of it, Backstreet Boys are remaining true to those words. Whether you are a fan of them or not, there is no denying that they are a group truly worth celebrating and they will continue to be one of the most influential bands of all time.
Sabil spends most of his time trying to stay as hopeful as possible. You can contact him at [email protected]