BACKSTREET BOYS – “Shape Of My Heart”

Teenpop on its knees: the Backstreets swap their usual robotix for Abbafied mid-tempo slickness, and the lyrics have a sinister, intriguing edge. “Save me from the man I’ve become” they sing and try as I might it’s this line that’s stuck in my head these last few days, in the place where normally Morrissey or Murdoch might have burrowed, niggling at me, asking me questions. Do I need redemption? Hardly, or at least not like they mean it: I’m just a bored twentysomething trying not to make any more decisions than I have to. Do I want to need it? Ah, that’s a different story.

And meanwhile the song is mysterious and smooth and gooey: the “kept you in the dark” hooklet, where the chorus tumbles over itself, is the neatest bit of pop writing in a while. Just like Fred says, when the Backstreets’ songwriters are on form/on formula, they’re impeccable – if you want ‘classic songwriting’ or whatever it’s here you should be looking, not to fusty curatorial types like the Elephant Six crew. But I could care less about classicism: all I hear is a single which sneaks up on me and gets in as deep as any pop has. You should buy it.