Did the Backstreet Boys just drop the song of the summer?
The Backstreet Boys perform their latest single, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," in a new music video. (Source: YouTube, Backstreet Boys)
Published Thursday, May 17, 2018 7:24PM EDT
The race for the song of the summer is on, and one of the leading contenders may just be an aging boy band that hasn’t had a top-10 hit since the turn of the millennium.
The Backstreet Boys are back with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” their first single in five years. In less than 24 hours, the song racked up more than 1.2 million views on YouTube, became the most purchased song on iTunes and shot to the top of Apple’s music video charts.
The speedy ascent has catapulted the single over Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” Drake’s “Nice for What” and “No Tears Left to Cry” by Arianna Grande.
The song’s immediate success is surprising, considering that their last song to crack the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Shape of My Heart” in 2000. The band has released four albums since then with limited commercial success.
Their newest funky, electro-pop hit, which sounds nothing like the Elton John and Kiki Dee tune of the same name, is almost scientifically catchy, with a sparkly synth-laden hook and the band’s signature crooning.
But the biggest draw may be the single’s tongue-in-cheek music video, which appears to poke fun at the very boy band tropes the Backstreet Boys coined during their glory days.
Blue lasers light up the stage as Brian, Kevin, Nick, A.J. and Howie perform a meticulously synchronized dance that consists mostly of arm moves. The routine appears to be interpretive, with the bandmates miming waves as Nick sings “Did I finally find me a river that could lead me out to the ocean?” When they sing about feeling “battered and broken,” they each break invisible bread sticks with their hands.
The band serenades computer-generated avatars of women that vanish into plumes of digitized vapour. Throughout the video, Brian seems to be so overcome with emotion that struggles to keep his eyes open as he lip-syncs and clutches his shirt.
The artistic intent behind the video -- be it a throwback, satire or a heartfelt performance -- is unclear.
In an interview with Billboard, band member Howie Dorough said he was struck by the song’s “unique sense of throwback” when he first heard it.
“We’re always trying to stay on the cutting edge, but also at the same time do something that’s real,” Dorough told Billboard. “We’re never going to do something that’s not us.”
The music video was directed by Rich + Tone, a long-time collaborator that’s worked on some of the band’s earlier videos.
The Backstreet Boys will spend the summer touring with their latest hit, with shows planned across the United States.