They leave long-time musicians scratching their heads in confused amazement. All over the world the girls swoon at the sight of them, and the last time they released an album it set a record and sold over a million copies in its first week. Who are they? Theyre the Backstreet Boys. I know, I know, youre probably thinking that I am giving them way too much credit, but in this world of crazed fans and fainting teenage girls, the title boy band is no longer a dirty term. If any band has proved this, its the Backstreet Boys. Nobody is sure why there is such defined attraction to five guys dancing, singing and wearing nice clothes. What am I thinking? Of course we know the attraction. We have been fascinated with boy bands since the early days of rock n roll. The Temptations, the Four-Tops, the Monkees, the Beatles and the New Kids on the Block have all made us take a second glance, and a couple of them have defined musical history.

The Backstreet Boys third album, Black and Blue, doesnt reform any musical equation. Take five great voices plus awesome production, multiply that with great songs, and youve got a hit album. The new album contains songs ranging from the classic I Promise You love song to the somewhat vain attempt to thank the fans with the song Everyone.

The album opens with the only questionable song, The Call. It deals with the reality of what happens when you allow another individual to come between you and your significant other. This rumba-flavored song speaks candidly about the lies that come from trying to hide things from the one you love.

The pop radio single Shape Of My Heart is fun, and its success is proven by its rapid move up the charts. Baby, please try to forgive me, stay here dont put out glow. The lyrics are intense statements of what one feels when falling in love, yet doesnt leave out the emotion of hurtful or broken relationships.

One of my favorite songs is Get Another Boyfriend. The message is plain and simple. Youre dating a jerk, and you need to open your eyes to the truth.

I think it should also be noted that in the thank you part of the album, three of the five guys give quite extreme thanks to God, and all three mention Jesus. Brian even quotes Psalm 71:1-8 and then closes with a prayer for his wife, friends, fans and the band. Im not trying to take this out of context, but I think it is important to know of the evidence of faith in the guys lives.

This album is a mature step in the right direction for the Backstreet Boys. Parents will be glad that there is no sexual content. Yet, the themes are perhaps a bit too adult-oriented for younger teens. I think a good age for this album is 15 and older. Im not sure what I expected, but Black and Blue ended up being much more entertaining than I anticipated.


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