What Makes You Different

Thanks Jim for giving me an opportunity to flex my favorite boyband’s song for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. The Backstreet Boys has been a very important part of my youth and I shall tell you why.

My father moved us to Saudi Arabia when were kids. I was 15 then and was starting to like boys, feeling puppy love, having my own sets of friends… but while I was at the peak of my teens, he just decided to uproot us — for the long overdue togetherness being that he’s been away from us for so long. How can I deprive my parents of that opportunity, right? Especially that people of family visas were extremely rare back then.

We weren’t exactly rich. My father had exhausted his savings for our visa fees and the very expensive move. Usually, expatriates are given moving allowances, but those were mostly offered to the Westerners and some high end Asians i.e. Japanese or Koreans OR if you’re a Filipino working for the government with an eligible visa i.e. Medical Doctors, certain Engineers, Architects, and other high level workers.

My father is an engineer, but didn’t work for the government so yes, he had to pay for the move.

I had to speak about our money situation to justify why the BSB had played an important part in my life. I had very limited means of entertainment. We didn’t have cable because we couldn’t afford it and Saudi Arabia only had 2 channels and both played mostly Arabic shows. There are very few English shows but we were kids so we weren’t as interested but there’s one that we really enjoyed, it’s called The Crystal Maze.

So while I was a newly-moved-not-so-pretty-teen in a school full of beautiful Filipino expatriate rich kids… I only had that one show and my cassette tape of The Backstreet Boys. That’s all I can ever afford! It was their first album and I had to play it on loop to the point that we memorized every song even the nos. of yeah yeahs and na na nas. I remember stopping and pausing to get the lyrics right as we didn’t have internet connectivity back then. To be fair, very few had.

I had the best room in the house, I had that one octagonal corner where I can see the city lights… mostly construction lights as Riyadh is still being developed back then. I would stare at the lights as I play the sappy songs and wallow on my sadness about missing what I thought was home. Some of my new found friends would record nonstop MTV shows til the VHS tape ends… that made me know them more, from their videos & I thought I was in love with Brian Littrell for some time. I totally forgot about my puppy love and replaced it with my daydreams about Brian (for real).

So yeah, I’d take this opportunity to share one of their coolest songs. This is the worst segue!

“What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)” is from their Black and Blue album — this was released by Jive Records in November 2000. It’s a follow up of their Millennium album released in 1999. The song I believe was included as a bonus track but not for all regions, I think released in Europe, Australia and some parts of Asia. The song is written/composed by Howie Dorough, Steve Diamond, and Andreas Carlsson.

The album recorded the best international sales in a week for an album in history by selling over 5 million copies in its first week of sales globally. In the United States, Black & Blue sold 1.5 million copies in its first week of release, making the Backstreet Boys the first group in Soundscan history to have million-plus first-week sales with back-to-back albums. It sold over 15 million copies worldwide. I think I bought 3 copies of this album — two tapes and a CD.

“What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)” 

You don’t run with the crowd
You go your own way
You don’t play after dark
You light up my day
Got your own kind of style
That sets you apart
Baby, that’s why you capture my heart
I know sometimes you feel
Like you don’t fit in
And this world doesn’t know
What you have within
When I look at you
I see something rare
A rose that can grow anywhere

And there’s no one I know that can compare
What makes you different
(Oh, uh)
Makes you beautiful
What’s there inside you
Shines through to me

In your eyes I see
All the love I’ll ever need
(You’re all I need, oh girl, girl)
What makes you different
Makes you beautiful to me
(Yeah)You’ve got something so real
You touched me so deep
(Touched me so deep)
See material things
Don’t matter to me
So come as you are
You’ve got nothing to prove

You won me with all that you do
And I wanna take this chance to say to you
What makes you different
(Oh, uh)
Makes you beautiful

What’s there inside you

Shines through to me
In your eyes I see
All the love I’ll ever need
(You’re all I need, oh girl, girl)
What makes you different
Makes you beautiful to me

You don’t know
(You don’t know)
How you’ve touched my life
(My life)
Oh there’s so many ways I just can’t describe
(So many)
You taught me what love is supposed to be
It’s all the little things that made you beautiful to me
(So beautiful, oh)
What makes you different
(Oh, uh)
Makes you beautiful
What’s there inside you
(Shines)
Shines through to me
In your eyes I see
All the love I’ll ever need
(You’re all I need, oh girl)
What makes you different
Makes you beautiful to me
Everything in you is beautiful
(So beautiful)
Love, you give shines right through me
(Shines to me)
Everything in you is beautiful
(Ohh)
Beautiful to me
(To me)

Since I am forever in Saudi Arabia, I totally had not seen them live- until 2019 when the Kingdom has opened to live performances – click this for yet another boring story!

52 thoughts on “What Makes You Different

  1. ‘ It was their first album and I had to play it on loop to the point that we memorized every song even the nos. of yeah yeahs and na na nas. I remember stopping and pausing to get the lyrics right as we didn’t have internet connectivity back then. To be fair, very few had.’

    I recognised so much of this. I mean, my situation was completely different to yours, but they were the first pop group is was ever a fan of. I too listened to their first album over and over. And I did have internet, but there was very little on it, so I too wrote the lyrics down myself if they weren’t in the CD booklet 😅

    Did you know Howie, who wrote this song, was actually going to be the lead singer of the BSB, only to be replaced by Nick as they thought it would appeal to more people. He was quite sour about this, he said in an interview.

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    1. I didn’t know that?!! I have always considered Brok to be their lead but yes, Nick’s got the “leading” appeal since most girls have a crush on him…

      For me, it’s a good choice because Howie is a falsetto, they usually don’t let falsettos lead a boy group, very similar to Chris Kirkpatrick of Nsync…

      Can’t get over that info! Was he sour about that really? I didn’t know any BSB drama! Thanks for letting me know about it… hahaha!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I saw it in the Bsb documentary that was on Netflix for a while.
        I think they preferred blond haired Nick over the Latino-ish Howie.
        And I think they chose well, he’s too sweet for the leading position.

        My friend was totally in love with Nick, where I preferred Brian 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Me too! I am gushing over brok again, cant believe it!

          My sister loves Nick and changed her entire wardrobe to green having read that it’s nick’s favorite color!!! Not to mention the nonstop pizza craze @ home also because of nick!

          We marathoned Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory back then til now… (yes the good ol’ Charlie Bucket) because Howie D. loves it!!!

          I hated Leigh Anne Wallace for marrying brian… lol … I even know her full name!! Hahahaha!! I am such a groupie… but I was so disappointed @ Brok when they came to Jeddah… he didnt have the “fan” interaction whereas AJ and Kev were very responsive… I felt like his reactions to fans in Frankfurt (they sold the VHS copies of the tour) weren’t for real because he was sooooooo sweet and responsive but in Jeddah, he seemed mechanical… like a programmed reaction timed and scheduled… I dont know… I could be overanalyzing it because AJ said hi to me and he didnt hahahaha!!

          Forgive my cheesiness!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It doesn’t matter. I had a great time as their fan and like you, I don’t often get to share this excitement 😂

            If you have an email address for me and your ok with it, I can tell more stories. I can’t do it here for reasons of anonymity 😕

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                    1. hahaha. Yeah as my favorite I tend focus on my him but I write about the others invidually too occasionally if I have a good idea

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                    2. Yeah there are many different series of Funko figures. I guess you did not notice the Grumpy Cat next to my Brian one.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I did.. but as usual, I am focused on my boy.. 😀 But that’s a cool funko… we also collect pops… but I try to avoid BSB and Harry Potter universe because of the possibility of having too many versions available… I’d end up broke 😀 😀 😀

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                    4. Harry Potter but so far there are one version of each Backstreet Boys member. I got the Grumpy Cat one from Amazon third party seller for $4.00.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. oh yeah, there’s only that version, but who knows right? I love Amazon’s aftersales support, they delivered a damaged pop, the box was all smushed and crumpled, they refunded us the full amount and sent a new one… and if you want to correspond, my email is jandawph (at) gmail (dot) com

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      2. Yes, but the problem was that Howie did not fit the Euro-pop style that the original Swedish producers created for them. Some will say his voice is bad. However, he would have never led My Heart Stays With You and Welcome to My Heart and this otherwise. Regardless, fans still recognize his role as the harmonize in the group. Brian Nick and AJ are the main leads.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yet he has become a lightining rods which as fan his I absolutely hate. Fan pick on him justifiably or not . He was right about Britney needing to be careful. I am sure her learned that from his own slip ups
            I have some entries about him on my blog.

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                1. Hahahaha. Same. I was even thinking that my mom wouldnt have a problem should I get married to Brok since she’d love a Christian guy marrying her daughter 😀 😀 😀 I was delusional!

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                  1. haha even then I wasn’t like that. I just followed the media appearances. I am trying to dodge that typical label.

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  2. I think this is the first time I ever listened to the Back Street Boys, but that is because I usually don’t like boy bands. I know that people say the Beatles and the Beach Boys were boy bands, but they played instruments and wrote songs, so I never put them in this category. Thanks for adding this song Janis, as I love the harmonies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They play instruments too and they write their own music! 😉 hahaha I am so defensive…

      But yeah, boybands were specifically designed for fangirls!

      Thank you for listening and for giving them a chance… they are one of the best in their category 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great story!! Thank you for sharing such a relatable experience. I had my daydreams and mad crushes too. Playing songs over and over. My parents were going to move us when I was 12 and I thought I would die! (Typical tween/teen drama🤣🤣🤣) I don’t remember having a specific song, but I was “so in love” with a boy at school.

    We didn’t end up moving, and I had many many crushes after.😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved that you included your own personal story with this post. I learned a lot about you and how BSB came into your life. I remember when Black & Blue came out and even this song. I was living in North Dakota (USA) when it came out and they were going to perform at the nearby arena. Every girl at my school went, even me. It was an excellent concert.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Too bad BSBFangirls wan’t taking guest submissions anymore this would have been perfect. I have also written some Backstreet boys related pieces

    Liked by 1 person

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