While doing my daily rounds of blog-surfing yesterday, I came across a stale crumb from the ’90s that I thought had died for forever: the Backstreet Boys. The boys of BSB have pried themselves out of the peaceful hammock of marriage and rehab to punch out a new single… and (maybe this is just the Generation Y nostalgia talking) it’s good. Who would have thought that the Backstreet Boys could stand the test of time?
Let me pose a question to naysayers: why does a “comeback” band’s new single need to automatically suck? Let’s strip away the Backstreet Boys’ embarrassing stigma for a second and look at their track objectively.
1. “Straight Through My Heart” was produced by all the right people. Even if the Backstreet Boys failed to extend their reign into the new millennium, they still know how to pick a producer. Leading dance/Europop/club music producer RedOne took the reigns on the Backstreet Boys’ comeback, and he did his job. The Swedish/Moroccan production artist comes equipped with a gleaming resume, having produced Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” and has also worked with other bona-fide pop artists like fellow Swede Robyn, Akon, New Kids on the Block, and Christina Milian. In conclusion, not all cred has to be snobby cred. In the world of pop/Eurodance music, RedOne has barrels of it.
2. Dance clubs have needs, too. Have any of you been to the clurrb recently? “Straight Through My Heart” was written with dancers in mind. Its synthy, Euro-fied beats are trend-friendly and utterly danceable, recalling today’s bubblegum singers (Miley Cyrus, Pussycat Dolls, Kylie Minogue). This doesn’t necessarily give the boys any artistic integrity, but did they ever have that? Madonna is a key figure of the ’80s. So why does she get to perform well into her 50s scorn-free? Maybe if the Backstreet Boys were women, they’d have a little more slack with audiences. But, I digress. The point here is that every musical genre serves a purpose. And Euro-dance/pop has its purpose in the clurrbs.
3. It’s (grudgingly) getting good feedback. News of a new Backstreet Boys single has pushed its way through the blogs. Idolator and Perez Hilton have covered it, and are currently streaming “Straight Through My Heart.” Idolator’s Maura Johnston is addicted: “This song is definitely built to bring them into the mold of current retrograde synthpop. I can’t stop listening to it! And not because of some weird tech problem, either.”
So listen and weigh in with a comment below. Is Backstreet back or best forgotten?