The Backstreet Boys’ latest album “DNA” is an attempt to launch the group’s name back into the limelight, keeping in line with the recent trend of big names of the past making headlines years after their peak. This album is a big project for the group. It is supposed to symbolize each individual member of the group’s “DNA,” while simultaneously meant to express the collective talent of the group.
And so the question is raised: Does this album mark a resurgence for the once-illustrious boy band or is it a forgettable album that serves as a grim reminder of why this talented group ultimately fell off the grid? To be completely honest, it is a bit of a hit and miss.
While the effort is certainly on display, none of the songs really jump out as much as they should. Nor will any become huge radio hits. Although at times catchy and enjoyable, the album is not consistently entertaining and it dips into bland and corny territory multiple times. To be fair, the Backstreet Boys were just a standard R&B group, mostly acknowledged for their smash hit: “I Want It That Way.” They are not exactly known for experimenting.
However, looking back at some of their old projects, this newest album shows growth, which is perhaps the most impressive part of “DNA.” Listeners should be pleasantly surprised when the late ’90s, early 2000s mushy lovey-dovey tone is replaced with a more mature one that still has pieces of the old romantic charm sprinkled on top.
Songs like “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Nobody Else” appeal to the die-hard fans of the group as well as to more contemporary listeners. This is the strength of this album. These two songs do not use a tired format. Listeners can actually feel the group’s desire to make something new, but nostalgic.
Unfortunately for some songs, this comes across as the musical equivalent of sitting on the fence. While the aforementioned songs and the single on the album “Chances” are enjoyable songs, and probably the best songs on the album, songs like “Chateau” and “Just Like You Like It” are middle-of-the-road songs that have nothing new to say and lack the risky, intrepid nature that many wanted to hear from the entire album.
Aside from the standouts, the rest of the album plays like the same prepackaged pop we are all used to hearing on the radio, although more recently artists have begun including hints of modern vocal twists. The saddest part is that the best songs on the album really did use the blend of old and new to their advantage. If the band could have done this to all of their songs, “DNA” could have been their best album yet.
In the end, “DNA” will be an enjoyable ride for most lifelong fans with a slightly new twist to their sound, but for others, it will simply be another creatively deprived labor of love that just falls flat.