Musical Diversity Within the World of BSB

I love talking about music.

Obvious, right? Given that this is literally a fan blog about a boyband. But then again if I told people in real life they’d probably assume it’d only be about the lighthearted shallow stuff. And I love writing those posts too. But when it comes to writing on here or on my Nick blog, my heart is all about diving into the music.

One day I don’t know why, my shuffle started playing Permanent Stain and it made me want to just listen to In A World Like This by itself on repeat. Something I haven’t done in ages. Usually if I’m in the mood for Backstreet I just put all their songs on a playlist and shuffle it around. Because there’s a massive amount of unreleased leaked songs I love to play too. But back to what inspired this post, because due to covid putting a lot of stuff on pause, it’s got BSB on pause so it’s been a minute since I’ve done a post like this. I was just suddenly reminded with just how much I loved that album as a body of work. How much I loved that era though that’s a completely different topic.

It got me thinking, how much did I love it, compared to other albums?

So I figured…let’s rank them and get y’all to join in.

As always, y’all chimed in.

It was your respones that really varied pretty wildly. Most people, would probably assume everyone would rank Millennium as their number one. Casual fans at least, right? Because it’s their most successful album, comercially speaking. It’s their Thriller, their Pet Sounds, etc. One day if it hasn’t already, it’ll be taught about in “History of Rock Music” courses in college. Because it’s just that memorable when it comes to the 90s. That’s not why I chose it, but still.

Hardcore fans would probably assume Never Gone would be a commenly named high ranker. Because to the fans that stuck around after 2005,. fans who love that album are very vocal about that. And I’m not saying that’s bad. But because they are, people usually think so. But in reality? It’s not so simple here. Even I had assumptions about what everyone would rank the albums have.

It’s not an easy thing to do. Like for me, I think about how often I play a majority of songs from that album. I think about the solid harmonies and vocal moments that make me go holy shit no matter how many times I hear it. (Breathe 2.0 on DNA is a good example of this.) I consider the how well they pull off whatever genres they include and how often the songs make me smile. I might be overanalyzing here but hey, it’s what I do. Then I include lyrics because while important if the harmonies and vocals are really good, they don’t make or break a song for me. (Yes this is why I like She’s a Dream).

But it fascinated me, seeing your lists.

Anyone who ranked Unbreakable or This Is Us near the top, for example. Because they’re basically the red-headed stepchildren of the discography. Because those were the Kevin-less years and even the Boys themselves try not to acknowledge them too too much. Which, FYI Boys, if any of you happen to read this? Stop that. We’d love to hear you guys reflect on them now. Hell, I’d love to hear Kevin’s thoughts from an “outside perspective”, could you imagine?

I’m also very interested in those who listed Black and Blue towards the top. Because it seemed to be at the top or at the bottom. And while I love some of the gems from that album, I feel like it was a mixed bag. It had great songs and okay songs, you know? Not to mention it’s probably the “darkest” time in BSB’s history when you factor in all that happened. And while yeah you’re ranking albums based on the music rather than the era, sometimes in this case it’s hard to separate it.

In A World Like This seems to be another one that’s oddly controversial. I’m not sure why and I’d love to see some comments about it. This was an album where they were on their own, they didn’t have the label backing but that also meant they didn’t have the label politics. This was an album that they came back together as five, which did mean fuller harmonies. And it’s an album a hundred percent crafted by the Boys themselves and the direction they wanted to go in. And I’m not saying this to take away from DNA which you’ll notice I ranked higher. But there’s a purity in that album I think that gets forgotten.

In a way I think whatever you ranked at the top five of your list, says a lot about what you want to see in the Boys, musically. When it comes to Never Gone, you want that pop/rock direction back and were probably a little less satisfied in their current direction, if I had to take a guess. If you’re a hard core ranker of Millennium, Unbreakable, or DNA you maybe were one of those who loved a mix of everything. Someone who as long as they sound fantastic and the music is good, who cares about genre? If you ranked In A World Like This up there you want their pop influenced direction to keep on going. As for Black and Blue or This Is Us then you’re one of those who will never forget their r&b roots. As for the debuts, I think that says more about when you became a fan versus what kind of music you love to see from them.

(Though 10,000 Promises is absolutely a diamond in their vault of songs)

And that’s the cool thing about our group. I’ve talked somewhat about this before, about what the Backstreet Sound actually is. But they’re literally so diverse. None of their albums have ever sounded like cloned copies of another. You can’t say this about all artists. Say what you will about BSB’s origins. They’ll admit they began as manufactured before evolving. At the same time, they’re testing their limits. Sometimes they write the music, other times they seek out incredibly talented songwriters and producers to help them create. They do things that people don’t expect. I mean, look at Just Want You To Know, yet they can go from that to Passionate. The evolution is just so damn impresive.

And it’s why…even though I know this will probably upset some who read this, that I think they shouldn’t listen to fans when it comes to their opinions about what the group should be creating. Promotion? Sure. Releasing unreleased songs? Absolutely. Tour ideas? Damn straight. Setlists? YES. But the musical direction itself for future albums?


That’s not the easiest thing for me either. I used to be so demanding as a fan back in 2006, ranting and raving about my Never Gone opinions. But the problem is this. They’ll never make the entire fandom a hundred percent happy. And I mean never. Because they’ve done it all. They’ve dabbled in every music genre at this point except for rap. (And I love Nick but he’s proof of why they should never rap. do collaborations instead.) That shows just how versatile they are. It shows their love and passion for all styles of music. It’s beautiful. But it also means fans know all of what they can do, which means fans can get picky.

How lucky are we, as fans that we can argue about what genre they should do? Because it’s not an obvious answer anymore? It’s sort of crazy in a way. But it’s my favorite thing. That their music has gotten so varied and diverse that now it’s gotten to be a huge argument about what their lane should be. But honestly – screw the idea of there being a lane! Do you Boys, trust me, if it’s good music? It’ll still shine. That’s what they’ve been doing all these years, and yeah we got spoiled.

Isn’t that great?

Whenever they do create their next album (besides the Christmas one that if it doesn’t come out this year, I’ll fear for their lives), it’ll be a guessing game of what they’ll do. Because they have that unpredictability. And I think that’s part of why they’ve been able to survive as a group when no other boybands did on their level. Because they didn’t let themselves get stuck. That evolution is what sucked in new fans, younger fans even. If you look at the music BSB fans listen to outside of the group, I’m pretty sure it’d be a dash of everything.

Just like the Backstreet Boys discography.

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