I come not to bury the Backstreet Boys, but to praise them.
And yes, this is praise from the most unlikely of sources. I don’t personally hate this band, or anybody in it–they’re just not my cup of tea. Now, it’s different with others who are inherently annoying. Justin Bieber could show up at my front door with a suitcase stuffed with $3.75 million dollars while singing original compositions about my virtues and it would STILL rub me wrong.
So you’d expect me to take a scalpel to any one of the Backstreet Boys songs, old or new, or any random song from New Kids on the Block or Nsync, and no, I couldn’t tell these three bands apart except for the fact that one of them included a young Justin Timberlake before he hired Jason Statham to make a daring escape in a black BMW. (Note: Timberlake is one of the dudes wearing a ski mask.)
So why would I go against every instinct in my body and praise a video by the Backstreet Boys?
(1) Radio is the great equalizer
Since I drive about two hours a day, 99 percent of music comes to me in a blind taste test, like Pepsi versus Coke except there’s no carbonated sugar water involved.
This song hit my radio and honestly, I had no idea it was Backstreet Boys–could’ve been any boy band, whether you’re talking current UK newbies or a Nostalgic Throwback Tour Because Yo, We Got Kids and Need to Pay the Mortgage.
Honestly, for a pop song, this is good. The lyrics are nothing to spend time dissecting, and the song won’t go on my running playlist or anything. But the song isn’t actively annoying, which is better than most of the stuff I hear on the radio. Not once did I rush to change radio stations, skip forward on Pandora or cover my ears in pain. That’s the acid test right there, empirical proof that despite my anti boy-band bias, the song holds up.
(2) Their fans will love it
What’s the purpose of a song like this? It’s not to get people like me to buy their stuff on iTunes or shell out serious money for a concert ticket.
They don’t need to generate name ID or start from scratch. This music video is for their fans, which is people who loved them back when they were on top of the world.
That’s a massive, built-in audience. When you start with an old fan base of millions and millions around the world, you only need to excite a fraction of that audience to pay the bills.
And I bet you all those old fans adored this new song.
(3) The video gets the job done
Music videos these days are expensive, with budgets in the millions not unusual.
Clearly, they spared no expense on this one.
So why do it, aside from letting singers scratch the acting itch?
A good music video adds to the song by (a) telling a story, (b) showing off the dancing skills of the singer/band or (c) giving you a taste of what a live concert might feel and sound like.
The Backstreet Boys are on tour, and these days the music business doesn’t really make money from selling music. The real cash comes from concerts.
If you grew up listening to these guys, and now you’re an adult with some scratch instead of a teenager raiding the change jar, this video probably makes you want to see the band live. Because hey, they clearly put on a good show.
VERDICT: I have to admire the brilliance of this comeback song and video. Fans of the Backstreet Boys will adore this song and video, so congrats on a well-performed comeback.