Backstreet Boys released its first album a full twenty years ago. The boy band was recently sitting down to talk stories from the group's career, bringing up some hilarious anecdotes from the beginning of the 2000s when Backstreet Boys was at the pinnacle of success. Back then, the five guys were in their early twenties, so sometimes things got goofy behind the scenes. For example, one of the songs on the Black & Blue album apparently actually includes the sound of flatulence hidden as an instrument. AJ McLean said,
So, when we were in the studio with Max making the song 'The Call,' Howie [Dorough] was in the booth, and we were doing that vocal break down, [sings] 'dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun.' Max gave Howie his harmony, and I think he was just putting so much air into the vocal that as he was singing, he went 'dun, dun,' and he farted -- but he farted not only on the beat, but in key. So, Max tweaked it and made it sound like one of his patented bass sounds, and it stayed on the record.
Unfortunately, if you listen to the song, you might not be able to find the noise. After all, Max Martin manipulated it and buried it among the other instruments. Still, the story is hilarious. However, a lot of people on social media seem to be trying to find the noise in the song. Funnier yet, Howie Dorough did not deny what AJ McLean said in the interview with Billboard. In fact, Dorough talked about how they consumed a lot of fizzy beverages at that time, noting,
And coincidentally, 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.'
Furthermore, AJ McLean used the sound to maneuver into a compliment for Max Martin. McLean called Martin a genius because he was able to take the sound of flatulence and turn it into an instrument that worked with the signature orchestral booms and bass lines of an early 2000s pop song. It seems like a lot of songs from that era had unique noises. For example, Timbaland fit that baby squeal into Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" and essentially built a song around Justin Timberlake's vocal noises for "Cry Me A River."
Still, being able to work a fart noise into a Top 40 song is a feat worthy of a master class, and it surely is an original use of one's musical talents. Over the years, Max Martin has produced hits with dozens of acts like Robyn, Pink, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, NSYNC, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Kesha, and Ellie Goulding. So, who knows how many odd sounds he has fit into other big songs on the radio? Regardless, we'll never hear this Backstreet Boys song the same way.
Today, Backstreet Boys are all grown up. They have spouses and kids. They've sold something like 130 million albums worldwide. They've even done the Vegas residency act. So, things are, perhaps, a bit different when they meet up at the studio these days. But how great that they can forever look back on these moments and laugh.