The Call (Backstreet Boys song)

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"The Call"
Single by Backstreet Boys
from the album Black & Blue
Released February 6, 2001 (Radio)
March 13, 2001 (Remix Version)
Format CD single
Recorded July 2000 at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Genre Pop, dance-pop, R&B, hip hop
Length 3:24 (Album version)
3:57 (Video version)
3:53 (Neptunes remix)
Label Jive, Trans Continental
Songwriter(s) Max Martin, Rami
Producer(s) Max Martin, Rami
Backstreet Boys singles chronology
"Shape of My Heart"
"The Call"
"More than That"

"Shape of My Heart"
"The Call"
"More than That"
Music video
"The Call" on YouTube

"The Call" is a song by American boy band Backstreet Boys. It was released on February 6, 2001 as the second single from their album Black & Blue (2000). It is set in the key of B-flat minor, with a modulation a whole step up to C minor after the drum break.

The song's bass sound is the sound of Howie D.'s flatulence while recording the vocals, which producer Max Martin then turned into his signature bass sound. In 2017, Howie D. said of the incident: "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.'"[1]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "The Call" was directed by Francis Lawrence from December 22–24, 2000.[2] For the video, the album version of the song was edited to extend the length of the song. Additional telephone rings were added at the start, and one measure was added to both the break following the second chorus, and the subsequent a cappella choral segment. A third repeat of the final chorus was also added.

There were two cuts of the video released. One featured the modified album version, and the second featured the Neptunes Remix. The two versions were substantially the same, however the differing arrangements of the two song versions resulted in the video being slightly re-edited to match. The Neptunes video also adds flashes of early in the video as callbacks near the end of the video; there is also an unreleased remix video using the Thunderpuss Club Mix and the Thunderdub of the song. Band member AJ McLean later admitted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in an episode discussing his recovery from depression and drug and alcohol abuse, that he tried cocaine for the first time on the set of this video. The music video won at the MTV Asia Awards in 2002 for Favorite Video. The song also received two nominations at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

Complementing the lyrics to the song, the video tells the story of a man who is unfaithful to his girlfriend. He meets another woman in a nightclub and leaves the club with her instead of going home to his girlfriend (whom he calls to make up an excuse for being late home). The man is portrayed progressively by the five members of The Backstreet Boys. However, a twist in the tale is revealed at the end of the video, when it turns out that the man's girlfriend actually knows the woman he cheated on her with. This perhaps leads the viewer to the conclusion that the man's girlfriend sets him up as a test of his fidelity to her. The video could be dismissed as an unlikely case of one partner in a relationship discovering that the other is going behind their back. However, the message behind the video is more likely to be an attack on unfaithful behavior, and a warning against its consequences.

Track listing[edit]

  • UK
  1. "The Call" (Album Version) - 3:24
  2. "Shape of My Heart" (Soul Solution Radio Mix) - 2:56
  3. "Shape of My Heart" (Soul Solution Club Mix) - 7:03
CD2[3] (The Remixes)
  1. "The Call" (Album Version) - 3:25
  2. "The Call" (Fragma Remix) - 6:05
  3. "The Call" (Tom Novy Remix) - 6:16
  4. "The Call" (Neptunes Remix with Pharrell and Clipse) - 3:56
  5. "The Call" (Kruger Mix) - 5:22
  6. "The Call" (Thunderpuss Radio Edit) - 3:10
  7. "The Call" (Thunderpuss Club Mix) - 8:26
  8. "The Call" (Thunderdub) - 8:03

The Neptunes Remix

  1. "The Call" (Neptunes Remix with Rap) - 3:53
  2. "The Call" (Neptunes Remix No Rap) - 3:55
  3. "The Call" (Earthone III Remix) - 3:43

Unmastered Mixes

  1. The Call" (Thunderpuss Club) - 8:26
  2. The Call" (Thunderdub) - 8:00
  3. The Call" (Thunderpuss Radio) - 3:11
  4. The Call" (Destiny Mix) - 7:45
  5. The Call" (Destiny Mix - Short) - 6:10
  6. The Call" (Destiny Dub) - 7:45
  7. The Call" (Azza's Blak Beatniks Radio Mix) - 3:47
  8. The Call" (Azza's Blackbeatnik Club Mix) - 8:55
  9. The Call" (Fragma Remix) - 6:03
  • Promo CD produced by Battery Studios - format: CDr-Acetate

The Exclusive S.I.N. Remixes

  1. "The Call" (Thunderpuss Remix) - 3:08
  2. "The Call" (Neptunes Remix w/Rap) - 3:53
  3. "The Call" (Neptunes Remix No Rap) - 3:55
  4. "The Call" (Earthone III Remix) - 3:43
  5. "The Call" (Fragma Remix) - 3:13
  6. "The Call" (Destiny Remix) - 3:36
  7. "The Call" (Marcus DL Remix) - 3:23
  8. "The Call" (Azza's Blak Beatniks Remix) - 3:43
  • All versions featured on this CD are Radio Edit
  • Promo CD produced by S.I.N./Vince Pellegrino

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Max Martin – songwriter, producer, recording, mixer
  • Rami – songwriter, producer, recording, mixer
  • John Amatiello – assistant recording engineer, Pro Tools engineer
  • Henrik Janson – guitar
  • Stockholm Session Strings – strings
  • Tom Coyne – mastering

Credits adapted from album liner notes.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How Max Martin Turned a Fart Into the Epic Beat in Backstreet Boys' 'The Call': AJ McLean Tells All". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  2. ^ "BSB Taps Outkast for Next Single". 2000-12-15. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  3. ^ "Images for Backstreet Boys - The Call (Remixes)". Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  4. ^ Black & Blue (Compact disc liner notes). Backstreet Boys. Jive Records. 2000. 638592211520.
  5. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  6. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  7. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  8. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call" (in French). Ultratip.
  9. ^ "Backstreet Boys: The Call" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  10. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  11. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". Top Digital Download.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Backstreet Boys" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". VG-lista.
  15. ^ "Poland: Airplay Chart - Lista Krajowa 10/2001" Peak position #7 in week 09/2001. (Retrieved September 4, 2015)
  16. ^ "Romanian Top 100 Singles Airplay Chart - Top of the Year 2001". Archived from the original on December 9, 2002. Retrieved 2002-12-09.
  17. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call" Canciones Top 50.
  18. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". Singles Top 100.
  19. ^ " – Backstreet Boys – The Call". Swiss Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "Backstreet Boys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Backstreet Boys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External links[edit]