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Album review: Backstreet Boys' 'This Is Us'

Backstreetboys The best song on Backstreet Boys' new album "This Is Us" is also by far the weirdest and creepiest. "PDA," an ode to the pleasure of public groping, splits the difference between the exhibitionist euphoria of Usher's "Love in  This Club" and Andy Samberg's "Saturday Night Live" skit about the travails of overly, um, sensitive men, the title of which cannot be reprinted in a family newspaper.

Coming from a band better known for its blow-out Max Martin ballads, it should be an embarrassing bit of lechery -- apparently even the grocery store is an acceptable forum for feelin' on a target's booty. But it's just absurd and un-self-aware enough to enter the pop vocabulary, which unfortunately can't be said for much else on "This Is Us," a competent but very late-adopted pop-trance slurry.

Though the Boys were one of the biggest pop acts of the '90s, they largely hand the reins off to their producers here, who include Lady GaGa’s hit-maker RedOne, Jim Jonsin and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.

Cuts like "Bye Bye Love" and "Straight Through My Heart" have au courant hotel-lounge decadence to them, and "She's a Dream" benefits from the light melodic touch of guest T-Pain. But when the boys extol a lady's virtues because "she don't even know I'm a celebrity," the lyric rings of self-fulfilling prophecy.

--August Brown

Backstreet Boys
"This Is Us"
Two stars
Comments () | Archives (51)

I have been a fan of the BSB for quite some time, 15 years to be exact. I've seen them in concert on their Black & Blue tour, and recently back in June for their This Is Us tour. I have EVERY single album, even imported ones from the U.K. and whatnot. I'm no longer a teenie bopper and haven't been for a long time, but these guys don't know how to make BAD music. Everyone can/could relate to at LEAST one of their songs. If anyone wants to talk trash, do it, but keep it to yourself. There are artists from the BSB "era" if you will, you didn't even make it pass the year 2000, and are on tv shows like VH1's Where are they now. Have you ever seen ANY of the BSB on there? NOPE. A quote from The Backstreet Boys FIRST self titled cd...."As long as there will be music, we'll be coming back again"

And i'm SO thrilled about that.


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