Backstreet Boys' 10 best ever songs, ranked

10 June 2021, 16:23 | Updated: 10 June 2021, 16:32

The Backstreet Boys
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

The Backstreet Boys are one of the biggest boybands of all time.

Thanks to their perfect blend of pop ballads and R&B-tinged hits, they have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them the biggest-selling boyband ever.

AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell continue to entertain fans around the world, and here are their very best songs, for the perfect playlist:

  1. 'Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)'

    One of the boys' first singles in 1996, this helped cement them as one of the world's leading pop acts.

    All of the background vocals, other than McLean's singing harmony with himself on the bridge, are those of Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, who decided to finish the song while the other members were having lunch.

  2. 'All I Have to Give'

    The sixth and final single from Backstreet's Back, this pop ballad saw the group have their biggest UK hit at the time, peaking at number two in 1998.

    Gotta love those full white suits and multicoloured baggy shirt combos...

  3. 'Shape of My Heart'

    No, this wasn't a cover of the classic Sting ballad, but was in fact a brilliant original pop ballad produced by heavyweights Max Martin and Rami.

    It was the lead single to their Black & Blue album, and gave them another UK top five hit.

  4. 'I'll Never Break Your Heart'

    This was arguably the song that introduced the band on the world stage. The love song was a hit around the world, including a number 8 in the UK in 1996.

    It apparently took over two weeks to record, because Brian Littrell and AJ McLean had colds.

  5. 'The Call'

    This track saw the boys act rather irresponsible, but how can you mad at them with a song as catchy as this?

    It tells the story of a man who is unfaithful to his girlfriend, after meeting another woman in a nightclub and leaves the club with her instead of going home to his girlfriend (whom he calls to make up an excuse for being late home).

    Bizarre fact: The song's bass sound is actually the sound of Howie D's farts while recording the vocals, which producer Max Martin then turned into his signature bass sound.

    In 2017, Howie D said: "I got in the booth, was breathing in really heavily singing my part, and I guess some extra air kind of came out. It made everybody laugh, and Max decided to take that and sample it to turn it into the 'dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun.'"

  6. 'Larger Than Life'

    This was the second single from their Millennium album, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time with 30 million copies sold.

    Co-written by band member Brian Littrell, the song is a "thank you" for their fans' encouragement and devotion.

  7. 'As Long As You Love Me'

    This was the boys' second ever single, and it remains their best-selling single in the UK, despite not reaching number one.

    The song was a last minute addition to their debut album, as Clive Calder, the chairman of their label, heard the song and called Jive Records president Barry Weiss, who then contacted their manager.

  8. 'Incomplete'

    Released in 2005, this was the lead single from the boys' comeback album Never Gone.

    Similar to Take That's 'Patience' a year later, the song saw the band take on a more mature pop-rock sound, and it worked!

  9. 'Everybody (Backstreet's Back)'

    This was originally left off the band's first album, as their label boss thought it would be weird having a song called 'Backstreet's Back' when they hadn't exactly gone away yet.

    However, after its huge success around the world in 1997, it was later included in international and special editions. It is also physically impossible to stay off the dancefloor as soon as this song is played.

  10. 'I Want it That Way'

    Arguably the band's signature song, this pop ballad topped the charts in over 25 countries.

    Many critics have questioned the song's meaning, mainly the line, "I want it that way." Ben Westhoff of LA Weekly wrote that the song "makes zero sense", adding: "Mainly, the meaning of 'that' is at issue. None of the sentiments in the chorus seem to go with any of the other ones. Even worse, no further explanation is given for what 'that' is."