Backstreet Boys are back (…stop, before you regret it) with a new single, album (In A World Like This), 20th anniversary tour, and documentary film slated for 2014. Did we mention that Kevin Richardson has returned after a seven-year absence and the guys are looking better than ever?Because we’ve been loving these lads since their chair-dancing days spent battling ’N Sync for the top spot on the TRL countdown, here’s a list of our favorite hits to get you pumped for the new stuff. These things are meant to be debated, so tweet @VH1Music or leave your own picks in the comments below.
20. “The Perfect Fan”
When a heartthrob (or five) can perform a sweet ode to their mamas, they get MAJOR points. (Of course you taped this Disney Channel special, right?)
19. “Shape Of My Heart”
Maybe 2000 was too early for “looking back,” but pop stardom causes many to grow much too quickly. Plus, they make apologies sound good.
Proof that comeback singles still exist, and “mature” sounds of former teen heartthrobs don’t have to be boring.
17. “Get Another Boyfriend”
There’s something romantic about men choosing to sing about why you should dump the unworthy partner you’re currently spending your days with rather than just talking about him behind his back. And “he’s just another player/Playing in the name of love” is too good.
16. “Larger Than Life”
Such an introspective look at “the prices of fame” surely deserves a second chapter dedicated to the social media era. Now that we’re older, can Nick please reveal the “other” way he wishes he could thank us?
15. “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now”
A.J.’s echoing “And I” haunts my dreams–in a good way.
14. “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”
If I can’t walk out into the world to the sounds of Jay Z’s “PSA,” allow me to introduce myself with a song that tells everyone how great my friends and I are.
13. “The One”
A relief to all the soulmate-coveting, lobster-hunting, doe-eyed romantics out there who are waiting until that singular special person arrives at their doorstep.
12. “It’s Gotta Be You”
For the small portion of us that grew up with BSB and currently classify ourselves as Directioners (in that we know more than a few song titles): Are August Rigo and Steve Mac the second coming of Max Martin and Mutt Lange?
11. “More Than That”
A sweet ballad satisfying to any and all Brian fans. The video is also a great demonstration of the ways men can pull off necklaces and willowy button-downs.
10. “Don’t Want You Back”
The antithesis to ’N Sync’s song, with lighter lyrical content than Eamon. We all dream of running into our ex when we’re happier, healthier, and dating someone better, and this is the exact kiss-off to soundtrack said fantasies.
9. “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”
The blend of Brian’s falsetto and A.J.’s powerful growl sweetens the pledge that any one of these dudes will never, ever do you wrong. Watching the video is a must–Nick lives in an anime movie?!–even if they’re living in a fantasy world with a lady who’s not you. (I’ve since gotten over the fact that Brian’s eventual wife starred as his love interest in the video, but it took some time.)
8. “Shining Star”
The Rodney Jerkins-produced track off Black & Blue has a distinctly funkier feel and more mature content (it’s all about satisfying her, gentlemen) than most of the Boys’ stuff, with a hand-clap breakdown you’ll want to spend more time with.
7. “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”
A more mature sound that showcased Kevin’s vocals instead of mostly his dark and mysterious looks. Here the Boys tackle grief surprisingly well, without pouring on too much schmaltz or over-complicating things.
6. “All I Have To Give”
Material possessions are nothing compared to this priceless bridge where Nick and A.J. plead with their object of desire that their affection can make her shine brighter than any piece of fancy jewelry. We’d be open to seeing how this pans out.
5. “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”
Such an innocent debut automatically places the quintet in the category of sweet, harmless, and entirely undeserving of your selfish run-around. It’s hard to disagree with their pleas here, and it’s also never too early in one’s career to include a “na na na” sing-along.
4. “The Call”
Using work as an excuse to let your eyes wander (or even cheat) has been around as long as local dive bars had land lines, and BSB’s tale is no different here. The guys do feel some remorse for their questionable actions, and what results is an epic spiral of thoughts as well as an introductory phone conversation that may or may not have given Drake the courage to put his drunk dials on Thank Me Later (no proof, just guessing here).
3. “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Not just a Halloween anthem or group choreographer’s dream project, and perhaps more appropriate to have #ONREPEAT than ever. Screaming “are you sexual” seemed so wrong at the time, which only made me want to do it louder.
2. “As Long As You Love Me”
“Appeal To Wide Range of Fans” is included on a boy band’s list of expected duties, and BSB ensured that their second single off 1997 U.S. debut would do just that. By calling out all the distinct characteristics or cultural classes they don’t seem to care about, the boys are only opening themselves up to be loved by a larger group. Well played.
1. “I Want It That Way”
It doesn’t take weeks of phoning Carson Daly to know that this the 1999 monster smash is the quintessential modern pop ballad, propelling the genre and the state of the boy band into the 21st century. There’s call and response, human emotion, and allusions to fire even Charli XCX can’t resist.
So everybody…what’s your favorite BSB track?