You may have lost track of The Backstreet Boys since the VHS era, but the all-male pop quintet is still at it, unleashing their first new single in five years on Thursday.
Press that play button before you dismiss the aging group’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart as a bit of tired ’90s nostalgia, because as far as we’re concerned this one is a modern pop banger.
A hefty four-on-the-floor beat and shimmering synthesizers lay the foundation for the new jam, with the quintet offering viewers a vast assortment of matching outfits and coordinated dance routines that mime various lyrics — that’s right, they definitely imitate breaking a stick in their hands when they sing, “Don’t go breaking my heart” for the first time. With ages ranging from 38 to 46, the group might be as svelte as they once were — and we’re not even sure what to say about the hats — but vocally, they’ve still got it.
The tightly produced new song is impeccably timed, coming just a month after the group’s 25th anniversary working together, and just ahead of their ninth studio album. Like many aging pop acts, the Backstreet Boys have spent much of their recent performance time in Las Vegas, where they performed a 26-show residency called “The Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life.” That show has (understandably) been renewed with new dates, with shows beginning in July and running through November.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart seems like it will be a big commercial success for the band, and has been rocketing up the charts — surging to number one on iTunes’ real-time list just hours after it was first released. Though the band has 17 past Billboard Hot 100 hits and millions of records sold today, success has been increasingly fleeting in their older years, so this is an impressive return to form.
The new song was produced by Scottish producer Stuart Crichton (Kesha, Kygo) shortly after the former boy band (now man band?) finished their first Las Vegas run.
“There’s that feeling that you just go, ‘This is undeniable. A smash.’ This one had that feeling,” singer Howie Dorough said to Billboard about the track. “I remember hearing the tracking and going, ‘Wow, this song has such a cool, unique sense of throwback.’ To me it sounded like something different, very fresh, not following something that’s already on the radio.”
We honestly never thought we’d be writing this in 2018, but we’re looking forward to hearing what else The Backstreet Boys have to offer on the upcoming album. Be sure to check out our weekly list of the best new songs to stream to hear some of the other music we’re excited about right now.