A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell are the members of Backstreet Boys, one of the longest boy bands that are still around since the 90s. They were form and sign in Orlando, and got their name “Backstreet Boys” from a night market. They sang all kinds of music from ballad to hip-hop to dance and R&B.
They debut their first single “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” internationally, and they hit the number one stop in every country but not America. Focusing on the foreign market, Backstreet Boys release their first album and gain popularity internationally. Two years later, they tried again releasing “Backstreet’s Back” in America, and that’s when they establish as one of the best selling boy bands and new teen idol during that time. There were many bands form during that era. Bands like N’sync, 98 degree, Westlife, S club 7, Five, Atomic Kitten, Steps and many more. Most of them were UK bands.
Backstreet Boys were like teenage idols and role model. Every guy wants to be like them, able to sing, dance and look cool. Girls want to have a boyfriend like them. It was like back to the 60s where people get crazy about The Beach Boys and The Beatles. The Backstreet Boys become the trend starter.
The album that really made them famous was “Millennium”. They have many hit singles like “I Want It that Way, Larger then Life, The One, Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely”. They sold one million copies worldwide during the first week, including the highest amount of shipments in one year and the most copies sold during an album’s inaugural week. This was the album where they try to do different genre of music, from electronic rock, to mature ballad. Two of the members Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell also help in the songwriting process. With this album, many artists like N’sync, Britney, S club 7 tried to go for the success path. They set the pop music trend.
Like I’ve talk about before, this was the album where Backstreet Boys tried almost every genre they can during that era. One of the main characteristics of this album is, the futuristic setting for the song “Larger Then Life”. It had them flowing in space, wearing sliver clothes that represent them living in space. The music is very electronic rock dance base setting.
Another characteristics of this album is, it release during the new millennium. The whole album is trying to tell the audience that they are at their transition from teen to adulthood. Instead of singing songs, that are love and puppy love, they start sing about loneliness “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”, about not wanting someone in your life “ Don’t Want You Back” and for the Fans “The Perfect Fan”. They want to show their maturity that they have and trying to expand their target audience to older people.
As a listener, I love them. I started listening to English music during the boy band era. Millennium is an album that I feel has all the pop things that teenagers like and meaningful lyrics that listener feels connected with their parts of their lives. As an industry professional, it reminds me of the good old times where song lyrics have meaning to it. It make me think through as a songwriter, will my lyrics tell a story and connect feeling with the listener or just words trying to fill up the gaps in the medley.
Being in a boy band doesn’t mean they can’t sing, good harmonies are the thing that made boy bands special. I understand there are auto tune and all kinds of software things to do that. But if the singers can’t even sing properly is harder to make them sound good and natural using tuning software. In five years time, I hope that more boy/girl/mixed bands are form. I believe the trend of having harmonies and fullness in the vocals will be back. In terms of visual, there are more things to do as a group compares to a solo act.