backstreet boys

#1008: Backstreet’s Back (in stock)

RECORD STORE TALES #1008: Backstreet’s Back (in stock)


Little known fact, people:  did you know that in the United States, the Backstreet Boys had a second self-titled album, with the same cover art as Backstreet’s Back?  It’s true, and I know it’s true because I once had about 200 brand new sealed copies in the trunk of my car.

The 1997 self-titled Backstreet Boys (as opposed to the 1996 self-titled debut) was a compilation.  It contained hits from Backstreet Boys and Backstreet’s Back.  Some of the tracks were slightly remixed, others not.  I acquired this box while dating “JJJulie”, the girl that dumped me while I was on the road opening a new store in Barrie.  For the record, I don’t blame her for dumping me.  I was miserable working that job.  I only blame her for not waiting until I was in the comfort of my own home instead of a strange hotel room.

JJJulie and I dated for two months in 2003.  If I recall the story, her mom owned one of those book clearance businesses.  The kind of business that buys and sells old overstock from other chains.  JJJulie must have got the box of discs from her.   Unable to move the product, she gave it to me.  Our store was crammed full of Backstreet Boys.  I think I might have given her 10 bucks for the whole box.  Then it sat in my trunk for months.

I did find some use for the box of BSB.  We were allowed to carry two copies at a time in our bargain bin.  We paid $1 to $2 each for bargain bin CDs.  I sold two copies to the store for $2 each.  I kept track of them.  Any time we sold a copy (every few weeks), I would sell another $2 disc from my box to the store, for the bargain bin.  That went on for a year or so.  I probably moved about 20 copies from my box before I quit.  Not a huge profit, but some small change for me.  The store would have made double what I did with their markup.

I did all this on the sly.  The owner would have said “No more Backstreet Boys!”  I had to do some things on my own, even if they helped the store in the long run, simply because the upper management tended to throw one word at me repeatedly:  “No”.  They wouldn’t have complained at the 200% markup when the discs eventually sold, but they really had pickles up the ass.  So, anytime I looked at the sales reports and saw that a copy sold, I went out to my car, grabbed another Backstreet Boys, and sold it to the store for $2.

When I eventually quit the store, I had an almost full box of BSB still left.  I didn’t know what else to do with it, so I put it in the dumpster.  Backstreet’s back…where they belonged!  In the dumpster.


REVIEW: Hit Zone 4 – Various Artists (1998)

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HIT ZONE 4 (1998 BMG)

“If You Could Only See” the reasons I own this CD.

Nobody buys a CD like Hit Zone 4 and likes every single track.  Stuff like this was popular because it gave kids an easy way to get a bunch of one hit wonders from the rock and pop genres without buying the albums.  There were also big names on board.  CDs like this were always on the charts, year ’round.  Today, kids just go to Youtube or Spotify.  But even a curmudgeon like me can find a few songs here to enjoy.

In particular, I bought this CD for a rare non-album version of “If You Could Only See” by the underrated Tonic.  This was their big hit, and the version on Hit Zone 4 is an alternate recording with a slightly new arrangement.  The liner notes lie and say it’s from their album Lemon Parade; this is obviously false.  In fact there’s no obvious way to tell it’s a unique version without listening to it.

What else is good?  “All Around the World” by Oasis (from 1997’s Be Here Now) is one of their more Beatles-worshipping moments.  Here it’s in the form of a radio edit (4:50).  I’ve never felt “All Around the World” was one of Oasis’ best tracks, and it works better in the context of its grandly overblown album.  However, “All Around the World” is like freaking gold, compared to Boyz II Men….

Other decent music:  I have a soft spot for Chantal Kreviazuk’s ballad “Surrounded”.  Jann Arden too, and “The Sound Of” is one of her very best tracks.  I’ve seen Jann live, and she did a fantastic show with stories and jokes and unforgettable songs.  Then there’s fellow Canuck Bryan Adams, with his excellent acoustic rocker “Back To You”, from his Unplugged album.  Few Adams albums from the 90s on are worth a full listen.  Unplugged is.  “Back To You” was the “new” track used as a single.  It’s bright and alive in a way that Adams’ later music is not.  Fiona Apple’s dusky “Criminal” is classic, of course.  Finally, who doesn’t still love The Mighty Mighty Bosstones “The Impression That I Get”?  They were one band that truly deserved their hit.  They’d been at it for so long, and this song is really just that one perfect tune for the right time.

Unless you were a kid in the 90s, you’ll find yourself skipping over ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys, All Saints, Robyn, and even Hanson.  Young Hanson can be tough to listen to.  I mean, they were kids, making music that kids liked.  It couldn’t really be helped.  I also find myself breezing past Mase, The Verve Pipe and Imani Coppola.  One hit wonders, right?  Shawn Colvin’s OK, but Boyz II Men can fuck right off.  “4 Seasons of Loneliness”?  Maybe because you guys are all wearing matching sweaters.  You can’t win friends with sweaters.

Hit Zone 4 is the kind of thing you buy in a bargain bin if you find it for $1.99.  These were once front racked at the old Record Store for $16.99 because they had so many hits from the late 90s.  It really was great value, because really, are you going to listen to Imani Coppola’s whole CD?  Be honest!

2.5/5 stars

GUEST SHOT! Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain (by Mrs. LeBrain)

I really had this coming.  In Part 314 (The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain) I exposed the somewhat embarrassing contents of Jen’s CD wallet.  I knew retribution would come.  Enjoy this penultimate episode of Record Store Tales, and its final guest shot, courtesy of Mrs. LeBrain.  (Warning:  LOTS of pictures!)


RECORD STORE TALES Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain

#10 HIM – And Love Said No.  That deep dark gothic prince Ville Valo makes lonely girls swoon, but he is also hanging out on LeBrain’s shelf.

#9 Soundtrack – SMALL SOLDIERS.  I don’t know how this made it into the LeBrain home.  I understand his need for everything Geddy Lee has ever created, but “Mixed by DJ Z-Trip“??  Is that really worth it?  (Not to mention that you have to rock out to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to get there.)

#8 ROD STEWART – “If We Fall In Love Tonight” CD single.  Going through my adventure here, I came across this single, designed to get the listener to first base.  YOU’RE MARRIED. THAT SHIT DOESN’T NEED TO STAY.

#7 Soundtrack – THE KARATE KID, Part III.  “Wax on, wax off.”  The case and book for this CD do not meet the demanding criteria that LeBrain enforces on his collection, but neither does the track list.  (I don’t know who most of these people are, but I have heard of the Pointer Sisters.)

#6 WOODSTOCK 99 – Various.  Look at the first six tracks from crap bands, and try not to laugh (a challenging task).  The second CD is just as bad.

#5 Soundtrack – SON IN LAW.  The Pauly Shore franchise was known for making really bad movies.  The soundtracks are not much better and this shouldn’t be taking up valuable shelf space.

#4 ELMOPALOOZA – Various.  If LeBrain were a daddy, this CD might make sense (Steven Tyler has a song about trash).  But LeBrain is childless, and Tickle-Me-Elmo is pretty pointless here!

#3 ZZ TOP: A Tribute From Friends – Various.  Three words:


#2 AVRIL LAVIGNE – The Lavigne Collection (see below).  In Part 314, LeBrain threw me under the bus for wanting to marry Joey Mac from New Kids on the Block, 25 years ago.  Payback time!  Just because he wanted to be her “Sk8tr Boi” doesn’t mean he needed to buy her entire repertoire.

And #1! HIT ZONE 4 – Various.  LeBrain’s messiest musical moments have been in his “Various” section, but this one takes the cake.  My husband owns tracks by NSync, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men?  And to top it off this boy band festival, here’s Hanson!  Regardless, I think the most disturbing thing about this CD is cover.  Look at the scratches and scrapes on the case.  This tells me the CD has been well enjoyed.


LeBrain, with all the mess on YOUR shelves, you really can’t make fun of me.  But no matter what crap you listen to, you’re still mine.

– Mrs. LeBrain


End of the Line!


Part 281: People of Walmart

RECORD STORE TALES Part 281:  People of Walmart

You know what I really hated?  (No, really this time!)  Customers who went out of their way to tell us that Walmart or Future Shop or Best Buy had something cheaper.  Much of the time, the customer wasn’t looking for a better deal on a CD.  They just seemed to relish letting me know that somebody else in town had a cheaper price.  Most of the time, I couldn’t have matched a rival’s prices anyway.  Big box stores’ prices were often below our cost, because of the sheer quantities they purchased.  Or, they sold a CD below their cost as a “loss leader” – getting somebody in the store to buy the new Backstreet Boys and taking a loss on it in hopes that they also buy other stuff.

I remember one obnoxious lady, in the store with her three kids.

“Do you know that Walmart has your Backstreet Boys CD there for $3 less than you have it?  HAH!

Really?  You needed to throw that “HAH!” there at the end?


Play with friends!

The truth was, I couldn’t have cared less.  We had a pricing structure that allowed us to be competitive with other record stores.  Walmart have it for $3 less?  Then buy it at Walmart.  I’m not going to be able to compete with them on the price of the new Backstreet Boys CD.  Also, those big release sales were generally just for the first few days of release.  By the weekend, their prices would be closer to ours.

Essentially we only carried new stock so we’d have those titles when customers asked for them.  We made all the money on the used stock and accessories.  If a customer came into my store and bought the new Backstreet Boys, great.  If they came into the store looking for the new Backstreet Boys but also bought two or three used CDs with it, then that’s what we were aiming for.  Sometimes we tried the “hard sell” at the cash register.  “Now don’t forget to stock up on blank CDs and CD cleaner while you’re here!  We have this CD cleaner for $5.99.”

You want cheap new releases?  Great!  Who doesn’t?  If that’s what you’re after then by all means, go to Walmart.  But if you wanted fair prices, lots of used CD selection instead of all the new releases, knowledgeable staff and a more personal touch than Walmart?  Come to us.  Put your name on a waiting list for a used copy of the new Backstreet Boys.  When it comes in, it’ll be cheaper than Walmart’s new copies.  As an added bonus you don’t have to look at the “People of Walmart” or be treated to their impersonal style.  Not good enough?  Then support Walmart and big megacorporations.  No skin off my sack!

WTF Search Terms: Musical Inquiries edition

Welcome back to WTF Search Terms.  These are real search terms that somehow led people to  Today, I thought I’d answer some people’s musical questions.

Click here for the last WTF Search Terms XV: Fan Favorites – Thussy Edition.

WTF Search Terms XVI:  Musical Inquiries edition

1. why is lenny kravitz last two cds a disappointment

Lenny Kravitz has sucked since cutting off his dreads.  Scientists call it “Samson Syndrome”.

2. whats the dirt on richie kotzen screwing bandmates wifes

Great question.  Kotzen was actually screwing Rikki Rockett’s girlfriend/fiance while on tour with Poison.  Kotzen later married her after being terminated by Poison.

3. glenn tipton can’t play anymore


4. iron maiden lyrics “what information do you need”

“We want…information…information…information!” – The Prisoner

5. does blackie lawless ever talk to anyone? 2013

Blackie Lawless has taken a vow of silence and now speaks through a computer like Stephen Hawking.

6. i wonder book list of names in the rock roll band kiss used to be in ks benny gene simmons paul stanley ace frehley peter criss and vinnie vincent

I wonder what this person is actually asking.

7. quite riot mr roboto

No.  It’s QUIET Riot, and Mr. Roboto was by Styx.

8. did malcomb mcdowell sing in a rock band?

No.  But there’s this musical:

9. back street boys with guitar


10. lebrians bb pin

I am not posting my BlackBerry pin, thanks.


Be sure to check back soon for more WTFs!

Part 259: New Release Twos-days

A sequel to Part 97:  New Release Tuesdays.

Part 259:  New Release Twos-days

New releases were almost always Tuesdays.   There are only so many Tuesdays in a year, and many music stars avoid releasing their albums on the same day as a rival’s.  Others like to go head to head, or try to beat other artists to the punch by releasing their albums early.  Record labels plan release strategies around these Tuesdays like generals going to war.  Advertising blitzes are ordered, interview campaigns co-ordinated, and personnel rallied.

Most often, bands didn’t want to compete with rival bands over limited consumer dollars.  On June 14, 2005, the three big releases we stocked that day weren’t fighting over the same customers.  Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor was the album I had been waiting for, but my good buddy Dan Slessor from Kerrang! magazine sent me a UK copy with the bonus track “The Sign” so I was going to keep waiting until  it arrived.  In Your Honor and its single “Best Of You” remain highlights of the Foo œuvre.  I expected steady sales.

On the same day, the Backstreet Boys returned from a lengthy hiatus.  Extending that hiatus was the release date of their comeback CD Never Gone (ha ha) which was pushed back almost a year.  I didn’t expect much mileage out of this album.  Then in the rap section, we had Fat Joe.  All Or Nothing was the name of his album.  Rap was usually a quiet but reliable seller.  Although some rap albums were sluggish and often died quickly, if you ordered in conservative quantities we could usually do well with rap.  You just had to know when to drop the title before people stopped buying it.  This is the kind of argument I would get into with our Head Office people all the time.  Sometimes they were right, sometimes they were wrong and I was right.  However I felt that they often used my well-known love of Heavy Metal music against my arguments, any time I was in favour of dropping a rap or dance title.  “You just want to get rid of it because you don’t like it,” they would say.  There’s just nothing you can say when somebody has that set in their minds already.

Anyway, on this Tuesday I proved to be wrong about first-day sales predictions.  I dug up my journal from that day.  And the winner is…

A tie!

Date: 2005/06/14 17:35

I have sold just as many Backstreet Boys as Foo Fighters today.

But nobody bought Fat Joe.

For the record, I’m also the one who predicted that Nick Carter’s solo album would outsell Justin Timberlake’s.  It really didn’t turn out at all like that!

Part 114: Albums That Don’t Exist

RECORD STORE TALES Part 114:  Albums That Don’t Exist

I had plenty of requests for albums that didn’t exist.  Or at least, I don’t think they exist.  Am I right or wrong?  Leave a comment.

Who.  Not The Who.  Not The Guess Who.  Just…Who.  I was told that albums by this band exist.  I can’t imagine how a band could be called just “Who”, but the customer swore up and down that’s the band, not to be confused by the other two.

Jewel’s first album, before Pieces Of You.  Maybe she released an indi album?  Regardless, the thought of any showing up in a used CD store in southern Ontario, all the way from Alaska, wasn’t too likely if they existed at all!

Blue Rodeo’s Greatest Hits…but years before they actually released one.  In the mid to late 1990’s A lot of people were baffled by a band that had 7 or 8 studio albums, but no hits collection.  Yet it was insisted to me by a customer that not only did they have a greatest hits CD, but that they’d seen it for sale elsewhere.

Five solo albums, by all five Backstreet Boys, released simultaneously.  A feat to make Kiss jealous, unfortunately such albums do not exist.  Which makes me wonder what the lady was smoking when she mocked me for not knowing about them, since “Walmart has them!”  Don’t know how they got something that doesn’t exist.  But that’s what she said.  I guess that makes me the dumbass.

Black Sabbath 1991, an album that supposedly came between Tyr and Dehumanizer.  The guy kept calling for this album that never existed.  My best guess is that he was looking for Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991?

Comment below!  Do any of these albums exist?

Part 29: Klassic Kwotes V!

1.  “LARS!  Stop that!”  Said by a long-haired dad, to his rat-tailed little brat kid. The dad was wearing a Metallica shirt.

2. “Can you fix this CD?”  We were presented a copy of disc 4 of the Led Zeppelin box set, almost snapped completely in half, so massive was the crack.  For the record, if anyone’s curious:  NO!  You can’t fix a CD with a crack in it! 

3. “Do you want to see a picture of me, dressed up as Snake Eyes, from G.I. Joe?”  I really wish I could remember the context of this one!

4. “Do you have any nice music for the kids?  Not that Backstreet Boys shit.  We don’t like that black music.”  Do I really need to comment?

5. I was buying a large quantity of discs from a lady, but she really wasn’t happy with the offer.  The CD that I was paying the highest for happened to be an Elton John disc, Yellow Brick Road.  One of the lady’s kids asked, “Mommy, why is he paying the most for that one?”  The mother points at me and says, “Probably because he’s a fruit.”

6. Little known fact:  4 out of every 5 parents shopping in CD stores don’t watch their kids.  Surprised?  I bet you’re not!  This one bad parent wasn’t watching as his kid systematically pulled every CD down from an entire section and threw them in a big pile on the floor.  I was at the register and the section was not visible to me, and with the kid being so small I didn’t see anybody over there.  When I saw him, I said, “Oh, no!”  The dad looked over and said, “No big deal, it’s only a couple of discs.  You’ll have them back up there in no time.”  Perhaps, but doing it in alphabetical order took 4 hours.

7. “Can I light up in here?”  Again, no comment required.

8. “What the fuck did you do to your head?” Said to me by a guy after I bleached my hair blonde the first time.  (Can’t actually blame him on this one.  It was memorable.)

9. “How much would it cost to buy every CD in here?”  This very odd question was asked numerous times over the years by curious children.  Why?  I’m not really sure.

10. “Do you want to buy a picture of me with Phil Donahue?”  Said to me, once again, by Snake the Tattoo Man.


Part 13: Klassic Kwotes II

As with the first Klassic Kustomer Quotes, everything below is true.  Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.  Here’s 10 more.

  • “Yeah, I’m the original drummer for the Rolling Stones.  I was first.  I helped those guys form the band.  Then they stole all my shit.  Bunch of assholes.”  Said to me by a confused guy about five years my senior.
  • “Where the fuck are my sunglasses?  I left them right here!  You must have taken them!  Where the fuck are my sunglasses?”  Said to us by a guy who had forgotten that he was wearing his sunglasses on his head.
  • “All five Backstreet Boys released solo albums on the same day!  How come you don’t have them?  Walmart has them!”  No such releases ever existed, by the way.
  • I admit that sometimes our “we buy used CD’s” sign could be confusing.  But I was still as surprised as any to hear the question, “How much will you give me for my royal wedding collector’s plates?”


  • After both a debit card and a credit card being declined, I was asked, “Will you take a cheque?  No?  How about my Sears card?”


  • “I saw Journey play the Casino last weekend.  They were AMAZING!  Steve Perry was amazing!  He still sings the same as he always did!  And he even still looks the same!”  Said to me by an excited lady who had no idea that she saw Journey with Steve Augeri.  Steve Perry quit the band five years earlier.  By the way, Augeri doesn’t even remotely resemble Steve Perry except they both have brown hair.
  • “It still plays fine.  I played it on the way here.  It didn’t skip.”  Said to me by a guy who didn’t noticed that his disc has a giant crack in it.
  • “Hey man, the owner always gives me a discount.”  This was a pretty common one.  Not many people had a discount, certainly not many that I didn’t know.  But this one kept going.  “I’m the one who gave him the idea for selling used CD’s.  I said, ‘Hey man you know what you gotta do?  Sell used CD’s.  That’s what you gotta do.  Sell them used CD’s and you’ll make a mint.’  That’s what I said to George.”  The owner’s name was not George.
  • “Hey, if I buy a blank CD, can you guys just load it up full of good tunes for me?”  Comment not necessary.
  • And of course, my favourite.  “I’ve gotta take a shit real, real bad.  Can I use the can?  Like I gotta go so bad man, you have no idea.”  I’ll admit, it was against company policy to let any customer use the washroom in any situation, but I had to break the rules on this one.  After all, I actually had someone take a shit in my store before.  No, I’m not talking about me.  There’s this girl, and she shit her pants in the store, and I don’t think she even knew it.  I still see her at the mall sometimes.  You never…ever…forget the face of someone who took a shit in their pants right in front of you.  The smell…was ungodly.  She stepped up to the counter.  She asked a question.  She asked numerous questions.   The stink was so bad!  I stood as far back as possible without trying to look like I was stepping back as far as possible.  I stepped on a CD case against the wall, the crack was audible.  And she kept asking questions.  I will never be convinced in a million years that this girl even knew she had shit her pants.