Black & Blue (Backstreet Boys album)

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Black & Blue
The cover is split in two different sides; the left side is colored black, while the right side is colored blue. The words Black & Blue are imprinted horizontally on the center of the cover, while on another version of the cover, the band name is printed vertically on the left side.
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 2000
RecordedJuly 1[1] – September 2000[2]
Studio
Genre
Length47:53
LabelJive
Producer
Backstreet Boys chronology
For the Fans
(2000)
Black & Blue
(2000)
The Hits – Chapter One
(2001)
Singles from Black & Blue
  1. "Shape of My Heart"
    Released: October 3, 2000
  2. "The Call"
    Released: February 6, 2001
  3. "More than That"
    Released: May 29, 2001

Black & Blue is the fourth studio album (third in the United States) by American boy band Backstreet Boys. It was released on November 21, 2000, by Jive Records. The album recorded the best international sales in a week for an album in history by selling over 5 million copies in its first week of sales globally.[4][5] In the United States, Black & Blue sold 1.5 million copies in its first week of release,[6] making the Backstreet Boys the first group in Soundscan history to have million-plus first-week sales with back-to-back albums. It sold over 15 million copies worldwide.[7][8]

The first single from the album was "Shape of My Heart", followed by "The Call", and "More than That". The band members wrote two songs and co-wrote five songs on this album, a departure from previous albums, which showcased less of their own song-writing. To promote the album, the band embarked on the Black & Blue World Tour in 2001.

Background[edit]

The album was recorded from July 1, 2000 to September 2000.[1][2] In August 2000, the band gave fans their first glimpse of the album, including the track "It's True" on a series of CDs made available through Burger King.[9] Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean stated that it would incorporate genres of rock, R&B, hip-hop, and country.[3] He also revealed that Nick Carter and Kevin Richardson would be playing on the drums and piano respectively.[3]

Title and lyrical content[edit]

According to Entertainment Weekly editor David Browne, the album title is a nod to their two musical sides: Black (as in the R&B inflections of their upbeat tracks) and Blue (their inclination toward mushy crooning).[10]It also represented Lou Pearlman's abuse and bruises.[11] Browne wrote that "The Call" (a dance-pop song) "tells how to cheat on your mate by telling her your cell phone battery's low!, but it also has the blowsy feel of a rejected show tune".[12] Rolling Stone's Barry Walters called it "the album's most frenzied cut".[13] The second track "Shape of My Heart" was described by Browne as a "predictable ballad",[12] while AllMusic's editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that "the song flows as gracefully as 'I Want It That Way', prove that the Backstreet Boys do teen pop ballads better than anyone."[14] The third track "Get Another Boyfriend" uses "drama-crazed harmonies" and was described by Walters as "the album's most frenzied cut".[13] Erlewine wrote that the track is a "dead ringer for 'It's Gonna Be Me' crossed with 'Baby One More Time'".[14] Walters wrote that "not even R&B kingpin Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins can erase the Scandinavian sparkle from the fourth track "Shining Star".[13]

Walters wrote that the sixth track "The Answer to Our Life", "bounces along on a perky melody obviously inspired by their Swedish mentors."[13] The seventh track "Everyone" celebrate themselves and the power of their audience. Browne wrote that the song is "a clunky foot stomper, which continues the self congratulatory tradition of their earlier 'We've Got It Goin' On' and 'Larger than Life'."[12] The eighth track, the ballad "More than That", was praised by critics. Entertainment Weekly praised "the graceful way their voices blend on the chorus",[12] while Rolling Stone praised "the symphonic splendor of the track".[13] The ninth track "Time" was written by the band members. Browne called it "piffle",[12] while Walters said that "could've sprung from any substandard Nashville jinglemeister".[13] The tenth track "Not for Me" received positive reviews. Browne praised "the spunky way they vault into the track".[12] Browne wrote that "Time" & the 11th track "Yes I Will" appeared to be vying in a contest for "Next Big Wedding Song",[12] but still acknowledged "the suave manner in which they engage in their trademark vocal swapping track" on the latter song.[13] The 12th track, "It's True", is another ballad in the same vein of the others, while the last track "How Did I Fall in Love with You" is sung by Howie D and Brian Littrell while the rest of the group does background.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic61/100[15]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[14]
Entertainment WeeklyC[12]
Los Angeles Times1.5/4 stars[16]
Q3/5 stars[15]
Robert Christgau(dud)[17]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[13]
Wall of Sound6.3/10[18]
Yahoo! Music UK5/10[19]

Upon its release, the album received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 61/100 from Metacritic.[15]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine rated it 3 out of 5 stars and wrote a favorable review, stating that "what gives Black & Blue character is that it's clear that the Backstreets want to remain kings of their world. So, the ballads are smoother than ever, and their dance numbers hit harder, all in an attempt to keep their throne."[14] Billboard staff wrote that "Beyond ballads, Black & Blue crackles with funk-inflected uptempo ditties that are notable for their rough edges."[15] Barry Walters of Rolling Stone stated that "the Boys still harmonize as well as the faceless background singers who prop up lesser pop puppets."[13] Q wrote that "The sound has changed little, and the level of emoting none. Still, thunderous grooves such as 'Everyone' and 'Shining Star' continue to be virtually irresistible, while the quieter moments, including the hit single 'Shape of My Heart' will wow the ladies and the more sensitive gents for a while yet."[15] CDNow labeled it "unquestionably the most seamless boy band release of the year."[15]

David Browne wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "Black & Blue merely maintains a holding pattern, recycling their past and doing little to establish a firm future."[12] Rebecca Dien-Johns of Yahoo! Music wrote that "Unfortunately, over a third of the songs on this album are ballads, and most of them are fillers at that."[19] Natalie Nichols of Los Angeles Times compared the album to a pinball machine and said that "listening to these 13 songs is a bit like pinging around inside one of those old-fashioned amusement devices. Giant grinding beats slam you from pole to pole, there are lots of flashy effects, the environment is completely artificial, and once the ball is launched, you can see exactly where it's going."[16] Robert Christgau gave the album a "dud" rating in his Consumer Guide.[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

Black & Blue debuted at number-one on the US Billboard 200 after selling 1.6 million copies in its first week at retail in the US. The feat made them the first act in history to achieve sales more than a million copies in the first week with back-to-back releases. In its second week, the album held the number-one spot, selling an additional 689,000 copies.[20] On December 18, 2000, the album was certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of over eight million copies in the United States.[21] As of March 2015, the album sold 5,936,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen Music.[22] It also sold 992,000 units at the BMG Music Club as of February 2003.[23]

Internationally, the album recorded the best sales in a week for an album in history by selling over 5 million copies in its first week of sales.[4][5]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Call"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:24
2."Shape of My Heart"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:50
3."Get Another Boyfriend"
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
  • Martin
  • Yacoub
3:05
4."Shining Star"
Rodney Jerkins3:22
5."I Promise You (with Everything I Am)"Dan Hill
  • Timmy Allen
4:23
6."The Answer to Our Life"3:18
7."Everyone"Lundin3:30
8."More than That"
  • Franciz & LePont
  • Adam Anders
Franciz & LePont3:44
9."Time"
  • Carter
  • Dorough
  • Littrell
  • McLean
  • Richardson
Babyface3:55
10."Not for Me"
  • Lundin
  • Jake Schulze
  • Carlsson
Lundin3:15
11."Yes I Will"
  • Allen
  • Larry "Rock" Campbell
3:50
12."It's True"
  • Martin
  • Carlsson
  • Richardson
  • Magnusson
  • Kreuger
4:13
13."How Did I Fall in Love with You"
  • Allen
4:04
Total length:47:53
UK / Japan / Australian bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
13."What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)"
  • Dorough
  • Steve Diamond
  • Carlsson
  • Allen
  • Renn
3:33
14."How Did I Fall in Love with You"
  • Dorough
  • Calum MacColl
  • Andrew Fromm
  • Allen
  • Renn
4:04
15."All I Have to Give" (a cappella)Full Force
  • David Thomas
  • Mark Kibble
3:48
Total length:55:14
European limited edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."All I Have to Give" (a cappella)Full Force
  • Thomas
  • Kibble
3:48
15."Shape of My Heart" (Soul Solution Radio Mix)
  • Martin
  • Rami
  • Miskovsky
  • Martin
  • Rami
  • Bobby Guy[a]
  • Ernie Lake[a]
  • Dorough[b]
  • Giuseppe D.[b]


2:51
16."The Call" (The Neptunes Remix) (featuring Clipse)
  • Martin
  • Rami
3:53
Total length:54:21
Asian Secret Diary tour edition bonus DVD
No.TitleLength
1."Opening Sequence" 
2."Band Introductions" 
3."MTV Fanatic Segment" 
4."MTV Cribs with AJ" 
5."Around the World Tour Documentary" 
6."Shape of My Heart" (Live at the MTV Music Video Awards) 
7."Shape of My Heart" (Live in Times Square) 

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a remixer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Black & Blue adapted from AllMusic.[24]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[58] Platinum 60,000^
Australia (ARIA)[59] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[60] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[61] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[62] Platinum 250,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[63] Platinum 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[65] Gold 26,601[64]
Germany (BVMI)[66] 3× Gold 450,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[67] 2× Platinum 300,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[68] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[69] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[70] Gold 25,000*
Portugal (AFP)[71] Platinum 40,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[72] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Sweden (GLF)[73] Platinum 80,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[74] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[75] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[76] 8× Platinum 6,928,000[A]
Uruguay (CUD)[77] 2× Platinum 12,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b MTV News Staff (September 19, 2000). "Backstreet Boys To Get "Black And Blue" On New LP". MTV News. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Colleti, Roger (June 13, 2000). "Backstreet's AJ Dishes on New Record". MTV News. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Backstreet Boys: Biography on Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Charts: Backstreet Boys score another No. 1 with Black & Blue". SoundSpike. November 29, 2000. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "Flashback 2000 - Flashback 2000: 'N Sync, Britney, Eminem, and Backstreet Boys Set Sales Records". Music.yahoo.com. August 16, 2006. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
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  9. ^ MTV News Staff (September 19, 2000). "Backstreet Boys to Get Black & Blue on New LP". MTV News. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  10. ^ https://ew.com/article/2000/11/20/black-blue/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Hedegaard, Erik (December 14, 2000). "Backstreet Boys: The Boys in the Bubble". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Browne, David (November 24, 2000). "Black & Blue Review - Music Reviews and News - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Walters, Barry (November 21, 2000). "Black & Blue - Backstreet Boys - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Black & Blue - Backstreet Boys - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
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  17. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Backstreet Boys". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  18. ^ Graff, Gary (2001). "Wall of Sound Review: Black & Blue". Wall of Sound. Archived from the original on April 5, 2001. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Dien-Johns, Rebecca (November 23, 2000). "LAUNCH, Music on Yahoo! - Backstreet Boys - Black & Blue". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on January 17, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  20. ^ Francini, Robert (December 6, 2000). "Backstreet, Beatles, Creed Rule Roost". Sonic.net. Archived from the original on May 12, 2001. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - January 24, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  22. ^ a b Peoples, Glenn (March 26, 2015). "Why Zayn Malik's Departure From One Direction Won't Hurt Band's Music Sales". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  23. ^ a b David, Barry (February 18, 2003). "Shania, Backstreet, Britney, Eminem And Janet Top All Time Sellers". Music Industry News Network. Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of March 2015, the album has sold 5,936,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan, which does not count albums sold through clubs like the BMG Music Club, where it sold 992,000 units as of February 2003.[22][23] Combined, it has sold over 6,928,000 copies in the United States.