The Forgotten Story of How Incomplete Became a Single

While we have all this downtime thanks to the lovely thing we all call Corona, I’m doing the kind of posts I normally don’t have time to do. The posts that bounce around in my brain but I push back due to the group doing something, AJ releasing a million singles, or NIck going on his latest project. But the Boys are quiet. AJ’s focused on TikTok and his nail polish line. And Nick? Well…he keeps saying things are coming but no dates yet. Kevin’s enjoying time with the family while Howie is off developing property. There’s word about a Christmas album, but I’ve learned to wait till we get something more concrete.

So…Incomplete. An iconic ballad and one that at first, I loved then I hated and now I love again. But there’s reason for that. Did you know that Incomplete becoming a single was practically an accident? Because it totally was. For those of you that don’t know, before there was a Dark Side? There was a LiveDaily which was like the message board for BSB fans until it’s eventual downfall (that spawned TDS) years later. And you see back when artists were gearing up for a new album there were sites like promosquad where you could register to hear thirty second clips by named and unnamed artists, and you’d rate them. Then they’d gauge the response and it’d help them shape the album. They did this a lot for Never Gone and they even had a phone number you could call the hear clips and pick your favorites. This was how the cover of Rumors clip was heard by fans. (I still wish that would be released.)

One night and I’m seriously saying night because it was at some crazy hour, a fan managed to find where the full track was uploaded on the promosquad site by playing with the HTML source code. That fan of course did what any fan would’ve done back in 2005. She raced back to LiveDaily and linked the flash player so we could all hear it. Eventually someone got the mp3 rip of it, and well the internet did it’s thing. It traveled fast. The song made it to every fanpage that existed. This wasn’t our first rodeo with leaks either, as Beautiful Woman had leaked back in 2004. You see, this was when leaked songs were pretty common a problem.

Now, this was back in February of 2005. They had not chosen a single yet. In fact up until March? They were still debating the songs.

Since some radio stations began playing a leaked song called “Incomplete” last month, many have assumed it’s the first single from the group’s as-yet-untitled new album, but that may not be the case.

While participating in various Grammy-related events recently, the Backstreet Boys revealed they are still deciding between “Incomplete,” “I Still” and “Weird World,” written by Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik.

The Boys themselves have talked about what happened to cement the selection. After the song leaked, of course word traveled fast. To give Incomplete it’s due, it was different than any of their previous singles. Fans started trying to get radio stations to play it, as fans tend to do. Some stations? They went for it without even being authorized too. The song already had a buzz. Especially because many non-fans didn’t recognize it as a BSB song – which caused some issues within the fanbase but that’s another post. It got to the point where Jive was sending out cease and desist letters to the stations. Bad move in my opinion, they should’ve just let it happen and then if they didn’t want it as a single, go on to release the next one as planned. I mean, they wanted talk about the new record, didn’t they? Despite all this, fans were still requesting the song, DJs were still playing it…

Because here’s the thing, you can’t unring a bell. So eventually?

The Boys and the label decided to roll with it.

Thus, Incomplete was the first single.

Though sometimes I wonder what could’ve been had it been I Still or Weird World. Would either of those songs been more successful? Would the Boys gone down the same career path? Would their return to mainstream been stronger? Hell, would Kevin have still left? I mean we’ll never know but it’s interesting to think about.

Now you know the story of how Incomplete was a fan driven single!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.