Students in their late teens or early 20s remember when they were once a self-professed Backstreet Boys or N’Sync fanatic. They knew every pop tune, waited anxiously for Carson Daly to announce the No. 1 video on Total Request Live, learned dance moves, plastered posters on walls, and swooned over the boys’ good looks.
Now that the bubblegum pop era has faded, the Backstreet Boys have decided to make a comeback with the release of “Unbreakable” to the public Oct. 30.
The beginning track will easily remind the listener of their early days, with classic four part harmonies this song is a carryon from previous albums.
“Everything but Mine” takes the band on the same path that their pop chums Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have taken by producing electronic dance tunes. This song seems the best on the record due to its danceable rhythm.
The song “Inconsolable” reflects the slow ballads on their album “Black & Blue,” comparing with “Shape of My Heart.” From this point on, the album goes downhill.
“Something That I Already Knew” is annoying due to Nick Carter’s overpowering squealing. “Helpless When She Smiles” is the boys’ experiment with more poetic lyrics that are good until the song sweeps into the chorus that is too “poppy,” especially with the overdone electric guitar.
The track “Any Other Way” is their attempt to be more dramatic and serious with their vocals, with background electronics that are just not believable. “One in a Million” is another song that also has heavy set vocals and hard hitting backgrounds. “Panic” has a fast tempo with strange high vocals and obscure backgrounds. The song “Trouble Is” is semi-decent only because it is carried by Brian Literral’s strong vocals. “Treat Me Right” is a little catchy with its falling vocal chorus. “Love Will Keep You” as well as “Unmistable” sound identical, with no originality to them.
In the track “Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon” the band tries to become mature by adding darker piano keys but, again, this song does not work.
“Unbreakable” is unsuccessful. One would expect the members that are no longer “boys” but grown men to write lyrics that go deeper than the same old love sanario. Although the members have dabbled in lyrics that display their feelings, the overall finished progress is monotonous.
Fans of the pop phenomena have grown up and moved on to other genres of music. Songs like “All I Have To Give” and “I Want It That Way” remain fun pop tunes that people can dig up, play periodically and reminisce to, contrary to their latest efforts that question if the band really is “Unbreakable.”