Backstreet Boys: DNA review – Catchy earworms and vocals that slay
K-Bahn - RCA
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.