Black & Blue
by Backstreet Boys, pop (2000)
BMG/Jive/Novus/Silvertone, ASIN B00005056C

The most successful Cheiron House worker ants - okay, it's either they or N Sync - are back! Black & Blue is their fourth album, and my, they have made great progress! In terms of looks, that is.

The Boys have come a long way indeed. Nowadays they are tough. Kevin admits to erm, flying solo in hotel rooms when he can't get a date, but Nick's the best in flying solo. Nick, incidentally, must have stuck his head in a blender to that Edward-Scissorhands-does-gay-twink look. AJ loses more hair and gets more tattooes, Howie D looks more and more oily and smarmy, and Brian... well, he's still as boring as ever.

I'm talking about their looks because musically, the Boys are still in the schoolroom, never actually progressing from the Michael Jackson-riff-ripped-off sound typical of Max Martin and his Cheiron House productions. The best track, Shape Of My Heart, is a pale clone of I Want It That Way and not worth a second listen. Even the Boys self-penned tune, The Answer To Our Life ends up sounding like a Gorgio Moroder-on-speed tune.

There are some nice moments in B&B - a chorus here, a riff there, but taken as a whole, this album is as dull as its CD art suggests. They might as well stamp STRICTLY FOR FANS on the cover and be done with it.

Rating: 44

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