Argument for the Backstreet Boys
One of the common misconceptions about musicgroups is that they always break up after their first majorbreakthrough. It appears as though that the music group members areheld together by the struggle, but once they get a glimpse ofsuccess, they decide to go solo. The problem is still prevalent inmusic groups of the current generation. A common concern that lingersin the minds of many regards the unity of sensational music groupsand why they do not stick together. Many people have come up withseveral theories to explain this phenomenon, but in my view, I feelthat the fame and money gets into the heads of some members. It isfor this reason that I applaud the members of the Backstreet Boys forsticking together through the years. This essay looks at theachievements and the uniqueness of the music group as a means ofjustifying their inclusion in our school curriculum.
Backstreet Boys vocal group comprises fiveyoung men from Orlando, Florida (Backstreet Boys Bio, 2016). Duringits formation in 1993, the group did not want to be attributed to thethen sensational boys’ band, ‘New kid on the block.’ When theyfirst emerged on the music scene, many people thought that they werean imitation of ‘New kid on the block’. However, Backstreet Boyshad to distance itself from the poor public image created by thelatter. In their first appearance on the media, they clearly statedthat they were not connected to the estranged group in any waywhatsoever. They referred to themselves as a vocal group rather thata boys’ band. Denying the speculation might have worked in theirfavor considering the fact that ‘New Kid on the Block’ hadcreated a bad reputation for the title ‘boys’ band’.
The primary reason I consider this vocal worthincluding in our syllabus is that it hit the music scene with a bang.Let us face it, how many groups make record sales for their firstalbum? The correct answer is close to none. When the vocal groupreleased its first physical single in 1995, it took the music sceneby storm. Prior to the single, the vocal group had released somesongs and performed on several stages in Florida and other Americanstates. The particular single that brought the group to the limelightwas ‘We’ve got it goin’. Max Martin and Denniz Pop produced thesong in Switzerland. The single did not perform well in the USAappearing at position 69 on the top 100 chart. However, the song wasa hit in Europe especially in Switzerland, Germany, and England. Thesingle set the stage for the group’s first ever international albumlaunch.
Their enormous popularity in Europe explainsthe reason why they decided to do their first international albumlaunch there. In April 1996, the group had finished recording itsfirst ever album known as ‘Backstreet boys’ (Backstreet Boys Bio,2016). In July of the same year, the group launched the albuminternationally excluding the USA and Canada. The reception in Europewas simply amazing.
On the first week of its launch, the vocalgroup had sold a record 250,000 copies. During the end of theirinternational tour, they had sold over 500,000 copies in Germanyalone. The record sales in Germany helped the group to attain therating of platinum gold in the 1996 music charts. During the musicawards of the same year, Backstreet Boys were voted the best musicgroup in the world. The first year of the group’s album launch wasan instant success, something that many groups may never live toachieve.
The most common genre of music that isassociated with the vocal group is pop (Dohmen, 2009). Around thetime of the launch of their first album, pop music was the dominantgenre of music in the USA. One particular single in their firstinternational album that exemplified pop music was ‘Straightthrough my heart’. The tracks that followed all had the incessantdrumbeats of pop music.
The songs began with an arguably longinstrumental before McLean, the lead vocalist, set in with the firststanza. The number of instruments kept increasing as the songsprogressed through the first stanza. The chorus had the highestnumber of instrument combinations and a high-pitch sound. Usually,two or three group members combined their voices to sing the chorussegment.
With the increasing popularity of RnB artistssuch as Mary J Blige in the late 90’s, most of the pop musiciansbegan to incorporate RnB in their music. Pop musicians and musicgroups figured that they could sell more copies if they altered theirolder styles to accommodate the emerging popular music genre of RnB.During this period, Backstreet Boys also made changes to their styleof singing. One RnB song from the group that stood out was the hitsingle, ‘Show me the meaning of being lonely’.
The later album launches of Backstreet boys area true emblem of what constitutes RnB music. The characteristics ofthis genre of music are prevalent in many songs produced by the vocalgroup. Most of the songs were comprised of soulful singing with astrong backbeat in the background (Hyde, 2011). The singers were allorganized according to their vocals. The lead vocalists with highpitch sounds took leading roles in the opening stanzas and thechoruses. The group members with low-pitch voice always took controlof the bridges and transitions. This arrangement is common even intoday’s modern RnB genre.
Another common characteristic of RnB that wascommon in the later songs of Backstreet Boys was the repetition ofthe rhythm. Throughout the stanzas, the rhythm maintained a low tone,which increased towards the bridge and the chorus. The complexintegration of different musical instruments, a definingcharacteristic of RnB music, was also prevalent in several songsreleased by Backstreet Boys.
According to DeNora (2003), music can be a toolfor creating social consciousness in addition to being anentertainment tool. Music has been a key element in fighting forpolitical freedom and social justice. It is the moral responsibilityof musicians to use their wide audience to preach social justice andpolitical freedom. The Backstreet Boys have been instrumental inpreaching social justice. In their single, ‘In a World like this’the vocal group seeks to create awareness towards the acceptance ofgay people and gay marriages. The song features numerous elements ofdiscrimination against gay people.
In conclusion, the Backstreet Boys group isvocally sensational and should be included in our school curriculum.The group has produced hit songs since its inception. The two genresof music that the group has specialized in thus far RnB and Pop areworth looking at in class. To sum it all, the vocal group has createdsocially- conscious music to address the issue of discriminationagainst gay people.
Backstreet Boys Bio 2016. Bio.Retrieved from <http://backstreetboys.com/bio> accessed May 25,2016.
DeNora, T., 2003. AfterAdorno: rethinking music sociology.Cambridge University Press.
Dohmen, P., 2009. Backstreet Boys: ‘This IsUs’. Student life.Retrieved from<http://www.studlife.com/cadenza/2009/10/09/backstreet-boys-%E2%80%98this-is-us%E2%80%99/>accessed May 25, 2016.
Hyde, J., 2011. Music for the Soul: The Best ofR&B/Soul Music. Dailykos.com.Retrieved from <http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/26/1040126/->accessed May 25, 2016.