Anyone else really tired of the fact that the group account tends to pretend that the “Kevinless” albums don’t exist? Like okay I know it wasn’t the same without him. I know for Kevin fans, it was practically the Dark Ages. They were in a way “underground” as I tend to call those eras. I know all of this and my girl Sara did a whole beautiful post about how those eras shouldn’t be ignored. (Great minds, right?) And so it had me holding off on a post, but then in an instagram post they skipped over those two albums again which basically confirmed I needed to do this.
Because even if the group account denies it? Those albums happened.
They’re part of Backstreet History. And they deserve attention!
They weren’t bad albums!
I mean obviously this wasn’t peak Backstreet. They were four instead of five. They weren’t getting the attention they deserved. But the music was so solid and for those of us who stuck around back then (no judgement if you didn’t, I have a post dedicated to it being okay) it was a really intimate time. That was when you really had the chance to freaking MEET a Backstreet Boy that didn’t involve contests or actively stalking them. I’m just saying. The memories from these eras were everything.
Like, the Panic dance.
But let’s refocus back on the music. Because like I said, Sara goes into detail on why these eras need attention and wonderfully so. Plus I’ve talked about how This Is Us was key in really connecting with the Boys, before. I asked you guys what you felt your favorite songs were and y’all came through for me and answered! Which I’m thrilled about cause I wanted to use these tweets to name reasons why these eras shouldn’t be forgotten.
I’m going to just point out that Undone has become a fandom staple ever since Vegas. Even the Kevin fans who had to suffer without him admit that the song is literally amazing and wish Kevin had been on board to record it. Hell, Kevin wishes he’d been around to record it! This song was the first time they worked with Ryan Tedder, the same guy who gave us Chances you know.
And Everything But Mine? I’m sorry but this is one of the most underrated songs. The lyrics are on point, it’s upbeat, and the harmonies are fantastic. I’d like to bug the group about bringing this song back as a deep cut. Because damn, Unbreakable gets the least amount of respect when it comes to set lists. Even Inconsolable and Helpless When She Smiles don’t make it and they were both singles!
And let’s talk about Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon. First off the intro of the Unbreakable album has something they’d never done before and haven’t done since. They bookended the album (if you didn’t get the special edition), giving us an acapella bit of the song before ending the album with the actual song. Lyrically, it’s absolutely beautiful. One of their best yet the song to this day hasn’t been sung live, and I know fans have asked.
Last night I saw the fireworks
The kind of pain that never hurts
The one you hate to love that’s made for you
Another unsuspecting Sunday afternoon
If you’re like me, you heard that acapella just now as you read it.
And what about Shattered? Home of Brian’s pure undiluted hallejuah vocals? God if that song showcases anything, it’s that when Brian goes for it, he really freaking goes for it. It’s gorgeous. Period.
Let’s talk about the fact they have a song written by a member of NSYNC, long before BackSync was a thing! Because Treat Me Right was given to them by none other than JC Chasez. It’s upbeat, and fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact I think the best thing about both of these albums is whether it was in the music, in interviews, or even the tours themselves? They didn’t take it too seriously. They just had fun with it.
Now I have to talk about both This Is Us songs here. All of Your Life is one of those songs you blast when you need to smile. Because that’s what it does. It makes you smile and reminds you how you’re great the way you are. And This Is Us the song? Okay. Well besides this being a fantastic ballad…let’s take a minute to appreciate Nick’s POWER VOCALS from then. And I mean power vocals!
I don’t want to live in a world where a Backstreet Boy holding a note like that never happens again. I just don’t. You can’t make me. Speaking of This Is Us, this was also the song that helped forge the group’s relationship with Jim Jonsin who to this day is friends with the Boys.(He’s the person who hooked Nick up with his current producer on his solo work, you know.)
Inconsolable was a return to form when it came to singles. It was a power ballad, it had great harmonies and it’s an ear worm. I don’t know why it doesn’t get more love when it damn well should. In fact I just got it stuck back in my head.
As for She’s a Dream, I realize this is a controversial song within the fandom. But first off, guys listen to the harmonies. They are beautiful. Period. Say what you want about the rest of it but the vocal prowess amongst the four of them when they’d do this song live? Fantastic and you can’t convince me otherwise. This is a hill I’ll die on. Even if Shawty had to be Amish for this song to work lyrically. I don’t care.
Can we talk about Panic? That song is crazy fun! It never took itself too seriously and as I showed above the Panic dance should NEVER be forgotten. Ever. Never ever. And as for Bigger, it gave us a music video that wasn’t on a hill or on a desert. A rarity. It was just four Backstreet Boys goofing around in Japan. It’s to this day? One of my personal favorites.
And who could forget Unmistakable? That song is just so haunting! And they don’t have too many songs with that vibe and that’s what makes it so beautiful. As for Straight Through My Heart, I’m sorry Kevin but this song has always been so much fun live. You just can’t help but dance around to it. If I Knew Then? It’s been a fan favorite since the day it came out. So much so that it eventually became a short lived single. Why do they not give this song so little attention?
Here’s the thing, I can keep going forever and I’m half tempted to. Because you have songs like Downpour, Trouble Is, Helpless When She Smiles, You Can Let Go, Masquerade, Bye Bye Love, Any Other Way, or One In A Million. The Boys were experimental during both these eras because they had nothing to lose. And I mean nothing. The media had wrongfully written them off, they were soldiering on without Kevin on a label that clearly didn’t appreciate them. And these albums came through like diamonds. They still hold up. Fans still love them.
Also, this was when Howie was finally really given a chance to shine! Which led to Kevin getting the same after he came back. These albums, these eras, changed Backstreet. Period. I think it was for the better, too.
What I don’t understand is, why not acknowledge them more? Why are we pretending they don’t exist? Why not instead, sing and perform these songs on tour? I know they need to sing songs casual fans know. But they’ve never let that hold them back completely or songs like 10,000 Promises or I Wanna Be With You…neither of which never even got RELEASED in the states, would’ve been performed on tours in the past! All any of us fans are asking is that you talk about these eras. You acknowledge that these eras happened. You perform these songs every once in awhile when you decide to toss in a deep cut song into the mix.
If anything everyone should be proud of these eras. These were definitely a test. Things weren’t easy. But they kept going. They kept creating, and now here they are on the other side stronger than ever. That’s something, so let’s stop pretending it didn’t happen.
Because let’s be real…the fans won’t forget. And we don’t want to.