Monthly Archives: June 2012

Backstreet Boys – Black & Blue (2000)

Oh no. This is a shame.

Honesty is important. I love the Backstreet Boys. Maybe I don’t say it enough. I have nothing but sincere, deep-down true love for these five duders. They’ve all got handsome faces and nice voices that leap right out of their hearts and into ours. And they’ve sang so many songs that are good. Great, even. They’re an American pop institution, if you ask me. I mean it. I really do.

And 1999 was such a primo year for them. Oh, how proud I was. Millenium. “I Want It That Way.” Diamond album sales. Best selling record of the year. Huge tour. Most expensive music videos ever produced. Howie visits Lake Compounce for the first time. The biggest boy band to ever exist touring behind the archetypal boy band record. Band happy. Record label happy. Fans happy. Me happy. A big, beautiful, fuckable year as far as the Backstreets were concerned.

And so it continued into the new millennium (pun intended!!). By mid-2000, the Nick Carter Corral was riding higher than the highest high balloon. Millennium was still notching hits, with “The One” ripping TRL to shreds. Teen pop was a big as it would ever get. AJ wasn’t in rehab yet. Y2K didn’t destroy the world. Spritis were high.

But there had to be a follow-up. Of course there had to be! Gotta keep those young fans happy! Gotta keep ’em gyrating awkwardly at middle school dances! High expectations!

And there was no way the Backstreets could upset their fans. Of course not! America’s youth loved them so. Just summore sweet “I Want It That Way”-esque ballads, fellahs. That’s all you need! Maybe another dance-rocker like “Larger Than Life” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”? Sure. You guys can punch out groovers like those in your sleep. In a five-man coma. Please. Get Max Martin back in there, he knows what he’s doing. He’s your friend. Have Nick flip his hair back and push his whiny vocals to the forefront. Have Brian sing about God and his mom. Have AJ shake his finger at the camera in a music video while tantalizingly unbuttoning his blazer. Have Kevin grow out his mustache and sulk like a brooding angstghoul. Have Howie wash the dishes. You guys know the drill!

It should have all been so simple. It would have been. But then, there was *NSYNC.

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Robyn – My Truth (1999)

Gosh! Folks. Sometimes, I just don’t know.

Here are some things I don’t know. I don’t know why I was born and why I am a person who does things. I don’t know if God has a dad. I don’t know why anybody would drink orange juice with pulp because I don’t know why anybody would want stuff floating around in liquid they are putting into themselves. And I don’t know why not one single Robyn album was released in the United States of America between 1997 and 2008.

No clue. None. It’s a mystery! A mystery that I am struggling to solve. If you recall, Robyn’s 1995 debut Robyn Is Here hit the charts hard upon its 1997 American release, with two top ten Billboard singles and platinum record sales. That’s a million units sold, if you weren’t sure! A million is a large number! A thousand thousands! You know how one thousand of a thing is a lot of that thing? Imagine that thing in your head one thousand times, and then imagine that thousand a thousand times. That is how many Americans plunked down their good hot dollars to hear the sultry, smooth lite-R&B vibes of Robyn’s 1997 debut.

It’s a lot of people. A lot! At least twenty-six clown cars worth.

So how did Sony BMG capitalize on Robyn’s significant stateside success? Well, they did what ANYBODY would do, given the chance to make a lot of money: they entirely ignored her 1999 follow-up, My Truth, for absolutely no discernible reason. They then proceeded to never release another Robyn record in America ever again, eventually leading to Robyn ditching BMG in 2003 and starting her own label.

Cool! Good job, record exec dudes! You are all incredible, handsome people with big fat kissable brains. Your hatred of money and success is an inspiration to us all.

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