I need to post a warning before I get too far.
Before you read any further I want to give all you guys fair warning, that I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who LOVED the Backstreet Boys, but did not give the slightest of cares to New Kids On The Block before this. The reason why I’m pointing this out now is so that once I rehash this unique time in our Boys’ history, and give some opinions throughout this post, you don’t get mad. I don’t hate New Kids or anything. In fact, this project got me to be more open minded. But again, just remember that I’m writing this as a BSB fan only. Okay? Okay.
Now that that’s out of the way….
When rumors of this started I will be the first to admit I was adamantly against it. I didn’t think BSB needed NKOTB for anything. While I never actively hated them, I was never really into them. You see NKOTB were a bit before my time and I didn’t have a sibling in the right age gap to get me into them. On top of this I did remember when I was really young hearing lots of jokes about New Kids. The industry always mocked them, worse than anything BSB ever endured. Not to mention even BSB at times would make an occasional not-so-nice comment about them, and a New Kid might reply the same way about Backstreet. (I tried like hell to find the interview but it’s been lost to time I suppose.)
Then the AMAs performance happened. Admittedly I enjoyed it. I think that was when I decided to enjoy the ride. This project while I still felt was unnecessary, was something that was getting them the most media attention they’d had since Never Gone at that point and time. Who was I to assume I knew better than the Boys? I think this was the first time that me, as a fan realized it wasn’t my place to dictate what the Boys decided to do or not do. I’ve always been very vocal with my opinions but this was the choice where I realized I could disagree without deciding it was my place to go off about it. And to be fair, I later realized I was wrong. A lot of fans did. This whole collaboration brought out strong opinions in both fan bases at first but we eventually all came to enjoy it for the most part.
You see, this project was something no other group or boy band had done before. How many times do you hear about a super-group? You don’t. But that’s what they were. For this time it wasn’t just NKOTB or BSB, it was NKOTBSB. That was how they marketed themselves and it worked. They released what was mainly a compilation album of greatest hits between both groups, and two new songs added on along with the infamous mashup that in essence became the theme song for this collaboration. Ironically one of the two new songs, All In My Head, was actually a cast aside song from the This Is Us era that ended up being rerecorded to add on NKOTB vocals. I still prefer the BSB only version but it was nice to see this song get an official release of sorts. The mashup is something I still play, whoever put that together was definitely good at their job, because that left it’s own mark.
I mean my first thought when I started this post was that mashup. Hence the title.
The second new song was what ended up being the sole single – Don’t Turn Out The Lights Now.
It showcased the two groups and it’s honestly a good showing of trying to blend together. Because they’re two very different groups, it also pointed out some of the differences. This is why I warned you guys at the beginning that this is being written from the perspective of someone who is just a BSB fan. Because I have nothing against NKOTB, but… one thing I found very noticeable then and now in this post is the fact that every Backstreet Boy had a solo. As for New Kids, it was only Joey and Jordan, which is very (to me) reminiscent of the way NSYNC did things. (Mind you, I actually always liked Joey, “I Love You Came Too Late” was my jam once.) And that’s always been something I loved about BSB is that every Boy can shine and does shine at one point or another.
The song itself? It was pretty catchy though it didn’t leave a huge mark on radio. Fans were also disappointed we didn’t get a music video out of it. It made sense though because this was a vehicle for the tour. That’s what all of this was. That’s why this project was so well put together. They announced it through a major awards show performance. Then they made sure to hit Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve for more promo and another performance. The album was to try and convert fans while using two new songs to make sure those who may not be there for the other group, picked it up for the new songs. A music video would’ve been great but was it necessary? Not really.
Going back to the goal of helping bring new fans over to both groups? They did manage this on both sides. I know many people who became bigger NKOTB fans because people wanted to know the music before seeing a show that had both bands performing. Admittedly I did this myself as there’s nothing worse than being at a concert and not knowing the songs. It drives me insane. So like many, I did my homework. In fact Dirty Dancing and Twisted are still on my music rotation though I never managed to be able to get into their older stuff. So I suppose it opened my mind a bit. I met several fans at the Vegas show too who were New Kids fans that fell in love with BSB because they started listening and got sucked in due to their beautiful harmonies. The fandoms were blending and that effect has lasted in the years since this project.
That’s a really cool thing, you know?
One thing I have to talk about, is the infamous “penis stage”.
For those who may not have been fans then or dipped out, nope I’m not kidding.
When the stage set up for NKOTBSB was announced, fans noticed one thing immediately. The shape. And yes it’s obviously immature but you know I was only twenty four. Hell the majority of both fan-bases were women though the age span is pretty vast when you combine both. What do you expect? It caught on fire and the words “penis stage” trended number one on Twitter. It got to the point that Twitter actually banned it from trending topics at the time due to the fact it was seen as “vulgar”. Thus making it even more hilarious.
The jokes literally wrote themselves and wouldn’t stop.
I searched my own tweets and was not disappointed.
Then I decided to search Nick’s, which gained even more gold.
I mean, honestly this was a huge thing. I’m laughing almost ten years later about this. Doesn’t that say everything? (Besides the fact I have the sense of humor of a thirteen year old boy.) Never underestimate the power of the fandoms for two major boy bands. In the wrong hands I’m sure we could take over the world if we really wanted to.
The stage became a life of it’s own. Then fans were figuring out which part had the best seats, the base, the shaft, or the tip. Honestly every conversation about this became hilarious even if you were legitimately trying to find out if your seats were good! Personally I preferred the tip. Why? Because that’s where they performed 10,000 Promises. Thus making my lifelong dream of seeing that live a reality. The set list included some real gems, such as the rarely performed If You Stay. It’s the tour that brought back Get Down along with the original dance, and a fabulous cover of Prince’s Raspberry Beret intro to Quit Playing Games that I’d pay good money to see them bring back.
And this was also a show where fans were picked right out of the crowd to be serenaded on stage during I’ll Never Break Your Heart. Think of it like the rose giving of that time period. It was what fans were dying to be picked for. Signs were made, and people got pretty damn creative to catch their attention. It was very cute and the Boys got really into it. Who wouldn’t want to be sang to by a Backstreet Boy? If they ever decided to do this again I don’t think any of us would be mad.
Now I see a lot on Twitter. And I even had someone ask me there if I thought NKOTBSB could happen again. A lot of fans want it on both sides. I don’t know how many NKOTB fans want it but I’d say about fifty percent of the BSB fandom wants to see it again. It’s pretty split but still more people than those who were hyped during the original announcement in 2010. I said, no I don’t think it could happen again. I realize many of you will disagree with me. That’s totally okay! You can. Just be nice about it and bear with me while I explain why.
NKOTBSB had all the stars align. They did. It was seen as cheesy but also as something that had never been done before. It was a perfect storm of NKOTB trying to regain themselves and BSB during their treading water years (as they put it). NKOTB has done co-headlining tours like this with other acts since this, thus cheapening the special appeal – at least to people like myself. Also, BSB are very high in demand now. They just had a record setting residency and a sold out world tour. Their album was just number one in 2019. They absolutely don’t need any sort of…gimmick sounds mean but I don’t have a better word for it. They just don’t. They’re riding a massive wave of success.
On top of this, and again…this is just my personal opinion. I don’t think Kevin would go for it. Yes I know he appeared on stage for a song at one of the NKOTBSB shows. But here’s the thing – they were talking about him coming back in 2011. (Hence his popping in on the 2011 cruise.) Something I always suspected and they confirmed in interviews. They asked if he wanted to rejoin them then and finish out the tour with them. Kevin? He said no. He wanted to wait until they were done. So he waited them out and did not rejoin until after the NKOTBSB tour was over. The moment it ended they were renting a house in London and recording songs together.
Combining that and some not friendly comments Kevin’s made about New Kids in the past (still annoyed I can’t find them, one of them talks about Danny if anyone knows what I’m referring to), and how seriously Kevin takes the craft? I simply do not see him going for it. I’m not saying he hates NKOTB, but it’s sort of like Brian and NSYNC. I’m not saying Brian hates them but I don’t ever see him wanting to do a tour with them due to his own feelings either. Even though Nick is really gung-ho about that idea. It is what it is, in the end. And that’s okay. A project shouldn’t happen unless all five are a hundred percent on board with it or it won’t work. Not in the right way at least.
If it does happen? Hell I enjoyed the first run more than I ever expected. I’ll roll with it again. Everyone will. We love the Boys that much. It’ll be fine either way. Maybe they’ll do a one off show together someday in the future. That I see as more likely given how friendly the two groups are with each other. A one shot where they do it to celebrate the mega-boy band that once was. NKOTBSB was a pretty crazy time. Crazy in the best of ways because it was so unique and we never saw anything like it, nor would anything like it ever follow. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Until then…at least we have the memories.