Billboard review on unbreakableWhile the turn of phrase may be cliché, the overall sound of "Unbreakable" screams it loud and clear: Backstreet's back. Unlike 2005's uneven "comeback" album "Never Gone," its follow-up finds the Boys dipping into their old bag of classic pop songs. They are a boy band with spot-on harmonies: They sing huge, hooky choruses; belt out sappy bridges ("I'm a house of cards in a hurricane," the group wails on "Helpless When She Smiles"); and bop and groove to slickly produced dance numbers. Nearly everything here is top 40 or AC radio-ready, particularly the piano-driven first single, "Inconsolable," and the Beatles-y "Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon." The boy band heyday might be long over and the group is now a man down (Kevin Richardson departed to pursue other interests), but Backstreet's ready to try and melt your heart once again. —Jill Menze
Backstreet Boys: 'Unbreakable'
Oct. 25, 2007 01:01 PM
* * * 1/2
The boy band that just keeps on going loses one member (new father Kevin Richardson), but the new quartet lineup works fine, given that the group's famed harmonies are used more sparingly on its first album in three years. The sound is more mature and rock-flavored, with plenty of solo vocal takes. The opening track, Everything But Mine (which follows a short, harmony-laden intro), borrows a page from Duran Duran, with synthesizer and piercing guitar chords. Helpless When She Smiles starts with Sting-like bass before building into a rock power ballad. You Can Let Go uses strings and acoustic guitar as the foundation for a slow rock anthem. The harmonies drift in on the choruses of these songs. The debut single, Inconsolable, has a stronger dose of old-school Backstreet vocals, as does Unmistakable, another slow rocker. Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough and AJ McLean would be wise to stay away from reggae in the future, with that sound anchoring the CD's most forgettable tracks, Any Other Way and One in a Million. The album ends with Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon, which hints at where Backstreet ultimately may be headed: a lush take on adult-contemporary music, bathed in piano, strings and harmonies.
- Larry Rodgers
It has started shattering those Critics! Go Backstreets! Go!