Who were they trying to fool with that album title? These sorts of highly publicized “greatest hits” packages five years into an artist’s career can only signal one thing – the label was predicting the group’s profile to tank fast and needed to strike one last time while the iron was still lukewarm. For me this couldn’t have come soon enough; I had long been awaiting the demise of boy bands and it seemed like it was finally happening. Little did I know they were going to be replaced by nu-metal, then Nickelback, then eventually boy bands again.
Let’s start with this: I absolutely hated these guys when I was growing up. I was in 5th grade when I first heard of them, starting with “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” with that “oh my God we’re back again” opening line that I found so amusing (I always thought it was their first single). It seemed obvious to everyone I hung out with that the Backstreets were some kind of flavor-of-the-month group that we’d all be embarrassed by in ten years time, much like Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer. We mocked ’em relentlessly, made up “funny” alternate lyrics, referred to them as the “Backdoor Boys”, and perhaps most cutting of all, called them “really gay”. Looking back, it was obvious why we really disliked them – girls were into them and not idiots like us, and since we had no chance of being like them, we had to hate them instead. Of course, the secret to getting girls was to like the Backstreet Boys yourself. I wasn’t quite smart enough to figure that out.