Video Hangover: Backstreet Boys – “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Backstreet Boys, 1998
Nine years later, Backstreet is still back — alright!

For dancing: one shiv (out of a possible five)
In case you had any doubt that you were watching shitty “Thriller,” check out the blatant knock-off dancing that begins around the 1:40 mark. Half-lurch? Please. Zombie-piano? Been there, done that. This is the sort of unimaginative scary-dance-move recycling that gets you a sharpened toothbrush in the kidney if you’re not careful. If the Backstreet Boys were smart they would have outsourced the choreography to India. Those guys know how to rip off Michael Jackson.

Backstreet Boy Monster Mash-up Quiz
You may have noticed that every Backstreet Boy has a “scary” alter ego. Howie is Dracula, Nick is the mummy, AJ is the Phantom (of the boy-band opera), Kevin is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Brian is…
a) Cruella DeVille
b) Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland
c) A mink stole
d) Gay wolfman’s personal shopper
e) Diddy’s overcoat

Backstreet’s back — and half-assing it as usual
For a video that has all sorts of fun costumes and sets, there’s really not much going on here. Joseph Kahn, who might be the only director in history to have videos by Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sisqo in his curriculum vitae, basically sets up five scenes and says “Okay Backstreet Boys, do your thing.” Much pimp-limping, b-boy posturing, and pointing ensues. It’s true that this song had no business being longer than 90 seconds, but the Boys run out of ideas remarkably fast — even for industry-manufactured tween-fodder. They were bad enough as a group; putting each one in his own scene was just plain cruel. To the viewer.

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