Backstreet Boys: DNA review – Catchy earworms and vocals that slay

Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 05:00

   
  

Album:
DNA

Artist:
Backstreet Boys

Label:
K-Bahn - RCA

Genre:
Pop

Back in 1996, Backstreet Boys asked us to Quit Playing Games (with My Heart), a saccharine pop song that’s a pure product of its time, and 23 years later, the lovesick, puppy dog aesthetic is long gone on their ninth studio album DNA as these five grown-ass men take the direct approach with the catchy ear worm Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

With Kuk Harrell, one of the music industry’s most sought-after vocal producers, and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder sharing coproduction credits with a host of others on DNA, the American boyband has never sounded better.

But if you’re looking for the big ballads of yore (Drowning, Shape of My Heart) or generation-defining songs like 1999’s I Want It That Way, you won’t find them here.

New Love is a low-baritone, R&B bop, the bass-driven Passionate could be a Maroon 5 cast off and on the a cappella Breathe, their harmonies still slay.

DNA is a mature presentation of what Backstreet Boys can do vocally but as one of the biggest boy bands in history, it’s just a fraction of what they’re capable of doing.