Unbreakable Walked So DNA Could Run

I was working on one post when this realization came into my head.

I was inspired. So here I am, working on NONE of the drafts I have saved on my WordPress account. Don’t ask how many. It’s bad. I’m cringing as I think about it because I feel like I’m slacking even though really it’s my overactive brain to blame. A blessing and a curse.

I was writing about the Backstreet Sound…(this post is going to be infamous by the time I actually complete it) and as I was typing, I wrote:Unbreakable walked so DNA could run.” And then it hit me how damn true that actually was. A blurb wasn’t enough to really dig into this though. I needed a whole freaking post dedicated to this light bulb that just popped above my head. So here I am. Yet again.

So let’s talk about Unbreakable. I’ve done that before but I mean let’s really really look at it here. I’ve called the album schizophrenic before. It is when you get right down to it. It’s an album that didn’t know what sound it wanted to go with. You had the euro-dance pop of Everything But Mine which, in my opinion is a very unappreciated song. You had some pop/rock with Helpless When She Smiles, and Love Will Keep You Up All Night. But many fans forget that God, Your Mama and Me was not BSB’s first journey into country. Nope. Not even close. There’s the mostly forgotten Trouble Is which in fact was country all throughout and a solid song to boot. As for a capella? While it’s true that Breathe 2.0 is the first full song that they’ve done in this style? This album features an intro that became one of the biggest teases in Backstreet land of what wouldn’t be given to us fully for another decade.

You see Unbreakable was the Boys’ first foray into showcasing all that they could do no matter what the genre. They did what songs they wanted, used all of their influences instead of just the one. Where we have Don’t Go Breaking My Heart today, we had Everything But Mine back then. No Place is the product of their early use of Trouble Is which showcased just how well Howie could do in country of all genres. As for the breathtakingly beautiful song The Way It Was, I’d say it’s predecessor could easily be the forever hailed song – Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon.

It’s crazy to think about it. That this album was the big brother. But it was. They were trying everything. And why not? They knew they had nothing to lose. Kevin was for the moment gone. The media was giving them none of the respect they deserved. Why not go for broke and do what they wanted? So they did. Was the album perfect? Absolutely not. That’s not a bad thing to say either. That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. And damn…did they ever grow from this point and time.

If you think about it, DNA is in many ways the sequel. Maybe even the reboot. It’s definitely more polished and shinier. Of course it is. First off, we have Kevin when we didn’t have him back then. Also it’s key to remember that Unbreakable was an album where they were figuring out who they were without Kevin. Who they were outside label support since by this point Jive was paying them dust. By the time they got to DNA they were more mature, they knew who they were. They had more life experience. The only dad in 2007 was Brian. Hell, Brian was the only one married when Unbreakable came out. (yes I know Kevin was married and that Mason was born in 2007 but Kevin wasn’t in the group then so it doesn’t count). A lot changed and it showed on this album.

The maturity and development as artists does shine in a way it may not have in it’s predecessor. I’d say the biggest difference is while Unbreakable was absolutely a product of it’s time. DNA mastered that timeless feel throughout it. That feel comes because despite the different genres changing from song to song, it doesn’t feel as choppy. This was an album that knew it’s identity and wasn’t struggling with multiple personalities.

But you know, if we didn’t have UnbreakableI don’t think we’d have DNA. At least, not in the way we know it now. What’s great about being a fan of the Boys is that we’ve been able to watch them throughout all of their ups and downs. Radio and media may embrace them now but they didn’t then. We saw them try new things and develop as artists to become who they are today. What’s cool about all this though is we can look back now and see the steps that helped them arrive at their current point.

So thank you Unbreakable, for being another part of the journey.

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