Twenty years into their career, one of the most successful boy bands in history, Backstreet Boys, have racked up a lengthy discography full of musical gems ranging from heartfelt love ballads to funky pop slammers.
BSB's comeback album and their first record since original member Kevin Richardson rejoined the group, In A World Like This, will be officially released in the US on Tuesday, July 30. To prepare for the anticipated release's arrival, MStars has ranked the 11 best Backstreet Boys songs to date.
Notably, each of the 11 songs are singles. Not like they're aren't great non-commercial BSB tracks, such as Millenium's "It's Gotta Be You" and Black & Blue's "Get Another Boyfriend," it's just that as a finely tailored pop act, the crème de la crème of Backstreet's discography were all chosen for the radio release and video treatement.
Without further hesitation, here are the 11 Best Backstreet Boys songs.
11. "More Than That"
The Black & Blue slow jam is makes an appearance at the bottom of this list not just for its winding, heartfelt lyrics and vocals but due to its importance in the scheme of Backstreet Boys discography. Like "Shape of My Heart" from the same album (though more on that song later), "More Than That" began to show a more mature side to the once funky, fun Backstreet Boys. Plus, lyrics such as "I heard him promise you forever, / But forevers come and go," still pack a punch over 10 years later.
The lone new single from Backstreet Boys' The Hits: Chapter One, "Drowning" was rumored to be BSB's goodbye track back in 2001, racking up huge amounts emotion in their dedicated fan base. In reality, the song was just a cut track from 2000's Black & Blue. Regardless, the power of the song still resonates to this day. The five members trade off vocal duties lovingly, giving fans what could have been a last taste of the boy band.
9. "In A World Like This"
The official comeback single from the upcoming album of the same name, "In A World Like This" shows that even if many may claim BSB are past their prime, they still have that special something. Brian Littrell's vocals in the chorus simply soar, and the light acoustic guitar backtrack make the song a fun, accessible love anthem. BSB's harmonies are as in tune as ever, and the musicianship appeals to fans both new and old. If this song is any indication, BSB's new album may, in fact, show that Backstreet's Back. Alright!
8. "As Long As You Love Me"
BSB's second ever single may raise a few eyebrows due to its blindingly lovey lyrics (What if the girl is a felon? Illegal alien? A dude?), but that doesn't mean the song doesn't stand the test of time. From the opening twinkles of music, the track is instantly recognizable. With an upbeat drum backing, happy vocals and perfectly blended harmonies, "As Long As You Love Me" quickly showed that Backstreet Boys were not a musical force to be reckoned with back in 1997. BSB Fun Fact! Due to illness, member AJ McLean's vocals don't appear on the studio version of "As Long As You Love Me."
7. "Shape Of My Heart"
Like the aforementioned "More Than That," "Shape of My Heart" really helped to define a new era for Backstreet Boys. No longer were they the doe-eyed baby faced 1990s heartthrobs; they were a full-fledged man band. The lyrics, full of regret and remorse, help to connect BSB to their fans and a new audience. The song, about revealing your true self, is as honest as anything else BSB has released. Plus, this song gave us the word "Tragical." Radical.
Never Gone, indeed. "Incomplete" is perhaps the best post-apex boy band single in the history of the musical medium. Following a three-year hiatus, Backstreet Boys returned in 2004 with a new album, new rock-influenced sound and new single. "Incomplete," beginning with a simple, deep piano melody eventually swells into a powerhouse ballad full of strained, heavy vocals and a longing mood that truly captures the heart of every BSB fan. "Incomplete" is BSB's last truly successful single, selling 250,000 copies and reaching No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
5. "We've Got It Going On"
Introducing: the Backstreet Boys! BSB's first single both abroad and at home in the US, "We've Got It Going On" is a creeping, funky jam of a first single. Sounding entirely '90s-rific, the five-piece boy band debuted to the world with a track full of deep vocals, raspy funkiness and pure pop fun. "We've been waiting so long, / Just can't hold it back no more," Brian Littrell croons in the opening verse, and the sentiment shows, as "We've Got It Going On" bursts with pure pop flavor. Also, somehow BSB were able to establish how long they'd be around "We've got it going on for years," they sing. Twenty years later, the statement still holds true.
4. "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)"
Despite building an insane fan base, Backstreet Boys never charted as highly on the Billboard Hot 100 as one might think. "Quit Playing Games," BSB's second US single, was their highest placing song, peaking at No. 2 in 1997. The deliciously poppy song features a strong electronic drum and heartthrobs Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Nick Carter trading off lead vocal duty. "Quit Playing Games' quickly because one of BSB's signature songs. Surely, the accompanying music video which features BSB dancing in the rain didn't hurt the song's success, either. It still makes teenage hearts swoon years later.
3. "Larger Than Life"
After the massive success of their debut album, Backstreet Boys proved they had more than enough dominating power within the first few seconds of their follow-up album Millenium. AJ McLean's insane scream at the beginning of "Larger Than Life" set the stage for the epic 1999 album. Singing about their dedicated fans and the perils of fame, everything about this song is, in fact, "Larger Than Life." The big-budget music video also helped to distinguish BSB from their competition, musically. Plus, that guitar solo! Shred!
2. "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
A song so insanely epic, its title is still referenced in nearly every Backstreet Boys story 15 years later. "Everybody" is the epitome of early Backstreet Boys music. Funky fresh beats, creeping, deep vocals and epic instrumentation make for one explosive track. This far down the list, it's hard to separate BSB's biggest songs with their epic videos. The haunted house-theme "Everybody" is every bit as hard-hitting and badass as the song itself. Kevin Richardson as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Nick Carter as the goofy mummy particularly shine through, making an incredibly memorable musical experience.
1. "I Want It That Way"
Of course, the lyrically ambiguous "I Want It That Way" has to top the list of the best Backstreet Boys songs. Hitting No. 1 in 25 countries (though only peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100), the epic "I Want It That Way" took BSB into a whole new level of fame, causing them to shut down Times Square traffic in an infamous MTV TRL appearance. "I Want It That Way" combines the pure power of a song like "Larger Than Life" with the sentimentally loving lyrics of "As Long As You Love Me," creating the most memorable boy band pop song to date.
Backstreet Boys' seventh US studio album, In A World Like This will hit record stores and digital distributors on July 30.© 2019 Mstars News, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.