Black & Blue (Backstreet Boys album)

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Black & Blue
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 2000
RecordedJuly 1[1] – September 2000;[2]
StudioCheiron and Polar Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)
Darkchild Studios (Pleasantville, New Jersey)
Parc Studios (Orlando, Florida)
Brandon's Way Recording (Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Backstreet Boys chronology
For the Fans
Black & Blue
The Hits – Chapter One
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 by American vocal-pop group Backstreet Boys. It was released on November 21, 2000 by Jive Records. It is their follow-up album to 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 1.5 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. To promote the album, the band embarked on the Black & Blue World Tour in 2001.


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 and Brian Littrell while the rest of the group does background.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[11]
Amazon4/5 stars[12]
Entertainment WeeklyC[9]
Los Angeles Times1.5/4 stars[15]
Q3/5 stars[14]
Robert Christgau(dud)[16]
Rolling Stone3/5 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 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.[19] 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.[20] As of March 2015, the album sold 5,936,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen Music.[21] It also sold 992,000 units at the BMG Music Club as of February 2003.[22]

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]

1."The Call"
  • Martin
  • Rami
2."Shape of My Heart"
  • Martin
  • Rami
3."Get Another Boyfriend"
  • Martin
  • Rami
  • Martin
  • Rami
4."Shining Star"
Rodney Jerkins3:22
5."I Promise You (with Everything I Am)"Dan Hill
  • Timmy Allen
6."The Answer to Our Life"3:18
8."More than That"
  • Franciz & LePont
  • Adam Anders
Franciz & LePont3:44
  • Carter
  • Dorough
  • Littrell
  • McLean
  • Richardson
10."Not for Me"
  • Lundin
  • Jake Schulze
  • Carlsson
11."Yes I Will"
  • Allen
  • Larry "Rock" Campbell
12."It's True"
  • Martin
  • Carlsson
  • Richardson
  • Magnusson
  • Kreuger
13."How Did I Fall in Love with You"
  • Franciz & LePont
  • Allen
Total length:47:53


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



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[49] Platinum 100,000^
Australia (ARIA)[50] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[51] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[52] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[53] Platinum 250,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[54] Platinum 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[56] Gold 26,601[55]
Germany (BVMI)[57] 3× Gold 450,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[58] 2× Platinum 300,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[59] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[60] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[61] Gold 25,000*
Portugal (AFP)[62] Platinum 40,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[63] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Sweden (GLF)[64] Platinum 80,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[65] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[66] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[67] 8× Platinum 6,928,000[A]
Uruguay (CUD)[68] 2× Platinum 12,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manning, Kara (2000-06-30). "News - Articles - 1425152". Retrieved 2011-10-06.
  2. ^ "News - Articles - 1425143". 2000-09-19. Retrieved 2011-10-06.
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  4. ^ a b "Charts: Backstreet Boys score another No. 1 with Black & Blue". SoundSpike. 2000-11-29. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  5. ^ "Flashback 2000 - Flashback 2000: 'N Sync, Britney, Eminem, and Backstreet Boys Set Sales Records". 2006-08-16. Retrieved 2011-10-06.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Taking It Back". Daily Record. 26 Oct 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 4 Dec 2009.
  7. ^ Staff, MTV News (19 September 2000). "Backstreet Boys to Get Black & Blue on New LP". MTV News. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  8. ^ a b Colleti, Roger (13 June 2000). "Backstreet's AJ Dishes on New Record". MTV News. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Browne, David (November 24, 2000). "Black & Blue Review - Music Reviews and News -". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Walters, Barry (November 21, 2000). "Black & Blue - Backstreet Boys - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Black & Blue - Backstreet Boys - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Marquis, Helen. " Black & Blue: Backstreet Boys". Amazon. Archived from the original on 16 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  13. ^ a b Black & Blue (2000): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Critic Reviews for Black & Blue at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  15. ^ a b Nichols, Natalie (November 22, 2000). "Backstreet's Black & Blue Proves That Boys Will Be Boys". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Backstreet Boys". Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  17. ^ Graff, Gary (2001). "Wall of Sound Review: Black & Blue". Wall of Sound. Archived from the original on April 5, 2001. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Dien-Johns, Rebecca (November 23, 2000). "LAUNCH, Music on Yahoo! - Backstreet Boys - Black & Blue". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on 2005-01-17. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  19. ^ Francini, Robert (December 6, 2000). "Backstreet, Beatles, Creed Rule Roost". Archived from the original on May 12, 2001. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  20. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - January 24, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
  23. ^ "Billboard: Hits of the World (Page 53)". Billboard. 2001-01-27. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
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  58. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Type Backstreet Boys in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and Black & Blue in the box under TÍTULO
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External links[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.[21][22] Combined, it has sold over 6,928,000 copies in the United States.