Warning this is a Backstreet Boys vs. NSYNC post and BSB slander will not be allowed in the comments.
I finally peeled myself away from watching Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” video on repeat. Well long enough to informally poll my Facebook friends on some of the best *NSYNC and BSB songs. Wait, this is the year 2018 not 1998. Why do I care?
Last week, *NSYNC (is there a star, an apostrophe, just all caps?) received their star on the walk of fame and their fandom began to proclaim this immortalized them as the best boy-band of all time. In the Sunken One aka Kanye West’s voice:
Hold on I’mma let you finish but BSB is the best pop boy band of all time.
I say pop because let’s be real none of these boys can harmonize like Boyz II Men. Also, to be very clear BSB received their star first way back on April 22, 2013. I started to make a list of reasons why BSB is obviously better than *NSYNC.
- Only JC and Justin sang. BSB was and always will be a unit. While, Brian with the good range, had lots of leads, so did AJ, and Nick. Howie would come in with his off the chart falsetto and Zaddy Kevin could kill those low notes and together they smashed the harmonies. There were no background singers (I’m looking at you Joey and Chris).
- The boys of BSB are aging like fine wine. *plays “If You Want It to Be Good Girl*
To be fair Brian is slowly balding, but can we talk about how Kevin is aging like fine wine! What I thought might be fairer than my very subjective take on these two groups is an album-by-album comparison for this ultimate Backstreet Boys vs. NSYNC battle royale.
Battle Royale: Backstreet Boys vs. NSYNC
Backstreet Boys vs. NSYNC
- BSB’s self-titled U.S. debut album (real fans absolutely count the international release) studio album was released August 12, 1997.
- Wikipedia says it became one of the most successful debut albums of all time and went 14x platinum. This is not an academic paper so Wikipedia is a source we will allow.
- NSYNC’s self-titled U.S. debut album was released March 24, 1998 and went 10x platinum.
BSB – The Hits: “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”, “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, “As Long As You Love Me”, “All I Have to Give” and “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.” Hits on hits. My personal favorites and some additional songs my informal poll listed: “Anywhere For You”, “Hey, Mr. DJ (Keep Playin’ This Song)”, “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” and “Darlin’”.
*NSYNC – The Hits: “Tearin’ Up My Heart”, “Here We Go”, “I Want You Back”, “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” and “Thinking Of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)”. Other polled faves: “Sailing”.
I like “Tearin Up My Heart” and I thought watching Chris and baby Justin in straight jackets in “I Drive Myself Crazy” was very entertaining. However, people are still doing the two handed “Everybody” dance and “Quit Playin Games” will bring the tween girl out of any adult woman today. Then you add in the other singles, c’mon. No contest.
Winner: Backstreet Boys
Millennium vs. No Strings Attached
- Millennium was released May 18, 1999 and was nominated for 5 Grammy awards.
- No Strings Attached was released March 21, 2000 and set a record for one-week sales.
Millennium Hits: “I Want It That Way” ,”Larger Than Life” and “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely”.
Polled Faves: “The One”, “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now” and “I Need You Tonight”.
Hits from NSA: “Bye Bye Bye”, “It’s Gonna Be Me”, and “This I Promise You.”
Polled Faves: “Space Cowboy” and “It Makes Me Ill”. There was another but with the exception of “Liquid Dreams” by O-Town, I’m lauding it as creepiest boy band song and refuse to add it on principle alone.
“I Want It That Way” is straight up the high point of that boy band era. Don’t @ me!! It’s the boy band song that people who hate boy bands still find themselves humming when it comes on at the bar at 1am. I mean look at this video:
And it’s still relevant today:
In my opinion these two albums are closer competition, because who doesn’t love to hit that Darrin’s Dance Grooves “Bye Bye Bye” dance. Also, we would never have the It’s Gonna Be May meme without this album. However, “I Want It That Way” is unbeatable.
Black & Blue vs. Celebrity
- Black & Blue was released on November 21, 2000. Wiki says Black & Blue sold 1.6 million copies in its first week of release, making the Backstreet Boys the first group in Soundscan history to have million-plus first-week sales with back-to-back albums.
- Celebrity was released July 24, 2001. Surprisingly, Celebrity didn’t sell as well as NSA, but was certified 5x platinum about a month after it’s release. Still pretty good in my mind.
Hits from Black and Blue: “The Call”,”Shape of My Heart” and “More Than That”.
Polled Faves: “Time” a babyface song and “Yes I Will”.
Hits from Celebrity: “Pop”,”Gone” and “Girlfriend”. P.S. these were everyone’s favorites. It’s a pretty solid trio of songs.
“The Call,” from BSB’s Black & Blue, is my shit. When one of my best friends and I went to see BSB this past fall, we (and every other fan) lost our minds when they started singing it. However, if I’m honest, which I’m trying to be, the “Girlfriend” remix could probably beat the Black & Blue singles by itself. And that sexy black and white “Gone” video was even playing on BET. I wanted Justin to paint my toenails so bad. Sooo yeah….
So that’s BSB 2-1. I also think there’s something to be said about the longevity of the Backstreet Boys. They’re still out here entertaining and outside of these three albums you have songs like “Incomplete” and “Drowning”. I’m not going to mention those two Kevin-free albums though. BSB also released a documentary, titled “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” back in January 2015. They’ve crossed over and made a hit country song with Florida Georgia Line. They had a whole Las Vegas residency people!!!!! You know who else has a residency Celine Dion. I’m just saying! And they’ve got new music coming out this year.
Official BSB vs. NSYNC Battle Royale winner:
This was actually super fun to do. Are there any other musical battle royales you’d like me to compare? Leave a comment below!