Backstreet Boys: ‘This Is Us’

Paul Dohmen | Cadenza Reporter

Songs to download: “Straight Through My Heart,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All Of Your Life (You Need Love)”
For fans of: New Kids On The Blog, Darin, N*Sync
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

On my first listen through the Backstreet Boys’ new CD “This is Us,” I was both very excited and very disappointed. I have been a big BSB fan ever since I was 8 years old. I have all of their CDs on my computer, and, when my suitemates are not around, I have been known to rock out to some of their classics (especially “I Want It That Way”). I really enjoyed all of their old stuff. They knew how to perform a song or two that would get stuck in your head.

But “This Is Us” has a mix of both the lovable pop from BSB and a new R&B influence that does not sit well. R&B suits artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna, but the Backstreet Boys are renowned for pop. So, why change a working formula? They had something going for them (as in millions of teenage girls and myself). The genre switch is in order to sell more CDs, as most of today’s hit singles are R&B. However, I am sorry, they cannot do R&B.

(MCT Campus)

(MCT Campus)

The CD begins with their first single, “Straight Through My Heart.” This song is so impressive that it’s on par with some of the BSB’s other pop singles. The next four tracks thankfully all follow the same old pop influence. “All of Your Life (You Need Love)” mixes pop with R&B, but to a pleasing effect. Present is the ever-insistent beat of the drum that characterizes older BSB songs, along with the sound of Nick Carter’s voice at the beginning of the track that will make any tween girl get excited (Heck, even I get excited—just don’t tell my friends). But things begin to go wrong with the title track, the first of their R&B songs. And, except for a decent remix of “Straight Through My Heart,” the rest of the songs on the CD follow suit. BSB’s R&B songs have the feel of an R&B song, but fall flat, as if they really didn’t care about performing the songs. The only song that they put feeling into is “Masquerade.” I surprisingly found my toe tapping while listening to this song.

Overall, the quality of the CD was not impressive. BSB can still sing well; they shouldn’t have switched their style. This might get them more new fans, but they are letting down fans who have listened to them since middle school. BSB fans should check out the first five tracks and “Masquerade” and then throw away the CD, which should be named “This Is Not Us.”

  • Aditya Dewi Hapsari

    lol “they cannot do R&B” i’m laughing so hard at this, you certainly never heard of enough BSB in your life (contrary to your statement as “a big fan” of them), and you certainly didn’t know really well what R&B is ;) aside from your rate to this album, it’s up to your opinion of course, i dont really care about the rate, some of the statements you make are so ridiculous oh god i cant even. especially those R&B parts lulzzzzz

  • Maha

    Whoa, whats with the negativity? You’re too cool to admit the Backstreet Boys This Is Us is good music in today’s culture?
    Even though I’m a fan, I’m unbiased when it comes to judging music. And I’d say this: Every song in the album is worth a listen, *every* song. And you know how to realise when an album is good? When you want to listen to every song thats been recorded in the album.
    Personally, I feel its one of their best works.
    Also, the Backstreet Boys target audience is not 12, for God’s sake. It’s older teenagers to early thirties.
    Anyone who enjoys decent music will enjoy the album, specially tracks like ”Shattered”, ”If I knew”, and ”This is Us”.
    Jana Lapada, thank you for the logical, factual comment, I really appreciate it! =]

  • jkl

    i’m from india….
    why should you feel ashamed to listen to your best pop stars in front of friends?
    bsb produce soul stirring music
    americans do not have guts to aknowledge good music…they like only stupid lyricless,meaningless,god-damn music

  • Informer

    All I’m Saying is Jane’s comment is great, and the new album also a great one.
    But PAUL, You are saying that you are a fan of BSB since you were 8, but you must admit if you are a fan you must BUY their CDs. Not to keep songs to your computer. I think this is the first BSB Cd you ever bought. You’re not a fan.

  • carrie

    Are you sure you bought the right CD? Cause “This Is Us” is genius. I love BSB but if the CD sucked I’d say so and it does not. I like more songs on this one cd than any other they have made. I think they did a wonderful job and hope they make many more albums

  • Barbara Black

    Jane and the rest of you great fans. AHMEN to your comments. It is soooooo true that the Backstreet Boys are never given a fair chance and some of the critics right negative reviews simply because they cannot recognize the BSB for the talent they have. Every other group grows and progresses. I loved what you have to say Jane, very well written. Much better than the review. Maybe you should take up a career as a music critic…
    BSB rule!!! KTBSPA!!!!!!!!!

  • I disagreed but tolerated when reviewers said ‘Never Gone’ and ‘Unbreakable’ were forgettable and snoozy releases. But this is where I draw the line when people say ‘This Is Us’ is another mediocre album by The Backstreet Boys. IT IS NOT!

    This album is a balance of all genres that The Backstreet Boys are known for. It is a multitude of sounds that is fresh and current. They have the pop R&B sounds like ‘This Is Us’ and ‘If I Knew Then’ of which, are both commendable songs. Reviewers say it is generic and falls back on the same old beat. I’m beginning to doubt whether these reviewers have given the entire song a chance before pressing the skip button. ‘This Is Us’ uses the guitar and piano as its focal melody while ‘If I Knew Then’ drives on deep and heavy beats with AJ killing the verses!

    I was shocked when people also have a problem with miniscule aspects such as repetitive chorus. Did they totally dismiss the lines before that!? (I could be the one/Give you all my love/Forget what he has done to you/I’m here now/Open up to me/Love will set you free/If ever you believe it/Please believe in me.) You want to talk about repetitive chorus being a mistake, but why when Jay Sean repeats the word ‘down’ in his song titled ‘Down’ (surprise surprise!!) and Cobra Starship repeats ‘good girls go bad’ in their song titled “ Good Girls Go Bad” (AGAIN, surprise surprise!!), listeners and reviewers embrace it with open arms! And it is not dependent on how catchy or nice the song is because ‘This Is Us’ is also one hell of a composition!

    The lyrics to ‘This Is Us’ (above) and ‘If I Knew Then’ ( But there ain’t no handbook/ You’re on your own/Got no instructions/ When it comes to love/ Cuz once you do something/ Can’t be undone/ Wish I could take back/ Letting you go) are perfectly put together with every line flawlessly fitting and apt! How could the gems of this album not be given credit!?

    Then there’s another issue about the boys being men and talking booty. Is that the crime of the century? And mind you, the one and only song that mentions about this is ‘PDA’ and only hints of it in ‘Masquerade’. And reviewers (naysayers, the more appropriate term) seem to judge the whole album with the song ‘PDA’. What about the other treasures in this album? They conveniently dismiss the rest because they found one evidence that they can base their ridicule on! So much for objective journalism!

    Yes they are older but they are not old! They can still dance their butt off I assure you! You want to talk about old, you look at Madonna, at her age (51) she’s more than qualified to become a grandmother but have you seen her latest video, ‘Celebration’? Trying to make it provocative with her non-stop banging! Adding onto that, with lyrics like ‘not recognizing you with your clothes on, what are you waiting for’, we can see how far she has come since ‘like a virgin, touch for the very first time’!

    And I cannot even begin to comprehend why people find a few lines of innuendos in PDA unsettling when they have been enjoying the more excessive suggestions in songs like ‘Hotel Room Service’ by Pitbull. Basically you are comparing ‘you’re the fingers to my instruments’ (BSB) with ‘i’m the plumber tonight/let me check your pipes/oh, you’re the healthy type/well, and here goes some egg whites/now gimme that sweet, that nasty gooshy stuff’ (Pitbull). Enlighten me! Please!!

    I hope these reviewers realize that they are continually contradicting themselves whenever they try to snub out The Backstreet Boys. When they release Never Gone and Unbreakable, reviewers said their mature sound lackluster, showing how the boys have very little to offer. Then when the boys got back to their roots, with uptempo songs, you then say they are too old to pull off such music! So the only sensible conclusion that I can come to is that no matter what genre of songs the boys release, reviewers (in an attempt to show their wit) will constantly feature the songs that they can make the best mockery out of it. Save your derision for the other artists out there who are non-praise worthy!

    It’s really disheartening to know that so many radio stations are not even giving their first single, ‘Straight Through My Heart’ a chance. How can such a great hit not be in their rotation? There are so mountains of pitiable music out there getting all the unwarranted attention. And all because people are not allowing the boys to evolve as artists and constantly labeling them with the other forgettable boybands whom we all know, have vanished. They are the last band standing because they were the best and still is the best at what they do! The Backstreet Boys have proven their longevity with their killer vocals, singing in perfect harmonies and dance moves you wished you could pull off.

    So enough with the negativity and start appreciating real talent!

  • megs

    they are the best!!!!! go go go BSB!

  • Alysha

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this CD!!!!!!! bye bye love should deff be their next single

  • Lovelylau


  • I think this album is incredible. I love their new sound and their evolving styles. I mean seriously, compare Elvis’ 70’s music to his 50’s music…sounds NOTHING alike. In the music industry, you have the modernize your style and music to keep up with the current trends. The whole world works that way. I love it. Ive been a fan since I was sixteen years old. I am almost 28 and I am still crazy about their music. Only God knows why my boyfriend puts up with it. Like Kayla said, they cant sing 90’s tunes anymore, its 2009.

  • Aditoshi

    First of all, I have to be honest that I have never been so very excited to buy BSB’s CD/album before now. Well, actually, every time I bought BSB’s previous albums I was always excited (and I will always be for the next albums ^^). But, this time is different. And you know what? I’m very satisfied with this album. I’m proud of them. Through the past 4 years since they came back in 2005, finally they started to find their sound. The truth is during these years they’ve been evolving as group. The album title “This Is Us” doesn’t always mean “This Is The Backstreet Boys Bringing Their 90’s Music Styles Back”. I think we need to give them a chance to change a little bit.
    After all, this album still shows the old BSB we knew. They didn’t change much. Not like what they did with Never Gone album (which actually one of my favourite BSB’s albums). So, maybe this album shouldn’t have been named “This Is Us”. Perhaps, it should’ve been named “This Is The New Us” ^_^V…

  • sachin

    wtffff……..this cd is best ….. i agree with kayla……….

  • Kayla

    I dont know what ur talking about…. ive been a fan since I was 8 as well and am now 21 and I still love them to death. I think this CD is the best of them all. They have to follow trends they cant sing 90s tunes anymore its 2009 now come on.