Black & Blue (Backstreet Boys album)

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Black & Blue
BackstreetBoys-Black&Blue.jpg
Studio album by Backstreet Boys
Released November 21, 2000
Recorded July 1[1] – September 2000;[2]
Studio Polar Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)
Darkchild Studios (Pleasantville, New Jersey)
Parc Studios (Orlando, Florida)
Cheiron Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)
Brandon's Way Recording (Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Genre
Length 50:00
Label Jive
Producer
Backstreet Boys chronology
For the Fans
(2000)For the Fans2000
Black & Blue
(2000)
The Hits – Chapter One
(2001)The Hits – Chapter One2001
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 (third in the U.S.) album of the American vocal-pop group Backstreet Boys. It was released on November 21, 2000 by Jive Records. It is their follow-up album from their 1999 studio release Millennium. 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.[3][4] In the United States, Black & Blue sold 1.6 million copies in its first week of release,[5] making the Backstreet Boys the first group in Soundscan history to have million-plus first-week sales with back-to-back albums. As of 2007, the album has sold 24 million copies worldwide.[6]

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.

Background[edit]

The album is the fourth (third in the U.S.) studio album by Backstreet Boys and was recorded between July–September 2000. The album finds the band once again teaming with pop producer Max Martin, who produced the group's first two albums. 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.[7] While talking to MTV, member AJ McLean told that the album would incorporate rock, R&B, hip-hop, and even some country.[8] McLean also revealed that Backstreet's Nick Carter and Kevin Richardson would be displaying their talents on drums and piano, respectively, on the album.[8]

Title and songs[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).[9] 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".[9] Rolling Stone's Barry Walters called it "the album's most frenzied cut".[10] The second track "Shape of My Heart" was described by Browne as a "predictable ballad",[9] 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."[11] The third track "Get Another Boyfriend" uses "drama-crazed harmonies" and was described by Walters as "the album's most frenzied cut",[10] while Amazon's Helen Marquis called it a "catchy advice dished out".[12] Erlewine wrote that the track is a "dead ringer for 'It's Gonna Be Me' crossed with 'Baby One More Time'".[11] The fourth track "Shining Star" is a "slinky beat-riddled R&B track".[12] Walters wrote that "not even R&B kingpin Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins can erase the Scandinavian sparkle from 'Shining Star'."[10] Marquis wrote that the fifth track "I Promise You (with Everything I Am)" was "a smooth ballad - that you can almost hear the lighters sparking up as the Spanish guitar gently plucks away on it."[12]

Walters wrote that the sixth track "The Answer to Our Life", "bounces along on a perky melody obviously inspired by their Swedish mentors."[10] Marquis called it "the album's most strong track."[12] 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'."[9] The eighth track, the ballad "More than That", was praised by critics. Entertainment Weekly praised "the graceful way their voices blend on the chorus",[9] while Rolling Stone praised "the symphonic splendor of the track".[10] The ninth track "Time" was written by the band members. Browne called it "piffle",[9] while Walters said that "could've sprung from any substandard Nashville jinglemeister".[10] The tenth track "Not for Me" received positive reviews. Browne praised "the spunky way they vault into the track",[9] while Marquis considered it "the album's most strongest track".[12] Browne wrote that the 11th track "Yes I Will" "appears to be vying in a contest for Next Big Wedding Song",[9] while Walters praised "the suave manner in which they engage in their trademark vocal swapping track".[10] 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.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (61/100)[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[11]
Amazon 4/5 stars[12]
Billboard (positive)[14]
Entertainment Weekly C[9]
Los Angeles Times 1.5/4 stars[15]
Q 3/5 stars[14]
Robert Christgau (dud)[16]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[10]
Wall of Sound (6.3/10)[17]
Yahoo! Music UK (5/10)[18]

Upon its release, the album received generally favorable reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 61/100 from Metacritic.[13] 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."[11] Another positive review came from Amazon's editor Helen Marquis, who wrote that Black & Blue is a worthy successor, if a slightly more mature sound for the boys. There's plenty of uptempo pop, such as the catchy advice dished out on 'Get Another Boyfriend' and the slinky beat-riddled R&B of 'Shining Star', nicely balanced with some smooth ballads."[12] Billboard was also positive, writing that "Beyond ballads, Black & Blue crackles with funk-inflected uptempo ditties that are notable for their rough edges."[14] Barry Walters wrote for Rolling Stone a favorable review, stating that "the Boys still harmonize as well as the faceless background singers who prop up lesser pop puppets."[10] 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."[14] CDNow labeled it "unquestionably the most seamless boy band release of the year."[14]

There were also more mixed reviews. 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."[9] 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."[18] 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."[15] Robert Christgau gave the album a "dud" rating in his Consumer Guide.[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

Black & Blue debuted at number-one on the 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 1 million copies in the first week with back-to-back releases. Later, the album held the number-one spot, selling an additional 689,000 copies.[19] The set has moved more than 8 million copies, and has been certified 8× Platinum in the US.[20]

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.[3][4] As of 2007, the album has sold 24 million copies worldwide.[6]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Call"
  • Martin
  • Rami
3:24
2. "Shape of My Heart"
  • Martin
  • Rami
3:50
3. "Get Another Boyfriend"
  • Martin
  • Rami
  • Martin
  • Rami
3:05
4. "Shining Star"
Rodney Jerkins 3:22
5. "I Promise You (with Everything I Am)" Dan Hill
4:23
6. "The Answer to Our Life" 3:18
7. "Everyone" Lundin 3:30
8. "More than That"
  • Franciz & LePont
  • Adam Anders
Franciz & LePont 3:44
9. "Time"
  • Carter
  • Dorough
  • Littrell
  • McLean
  • Richardson
Babyface 3:55
10. "Not for Me"
  • Lundin
  • Jake Schulze
  • Carlsson
Lundin 3:15
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"
4:04

Notes

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

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
1 by The Beatles
Billboard 200 number-one album
December 9–22, 2000
Succeeded by
1 by The Beatles