Millennial (and middle-aged) moms everywhere have been anxiously awaiting the release of Howie D.’s first family album, Which One Am I? And rightly so, since the dreamy Backstreet Boy’s solo album gives us a deep look into who Howie D. really is. And it makes us realize that the low-key Backstreet Boy is truly larger than life.
Whick One Am I? is a cool collection of songs that offer musical reflections of Howie D’s childhood. “When I started writing these songs with [producer] Tor Hyams and veteran Broadway performer Lisa St. Lou, it became clear that together they revealed my own story,” stated Howie D. in a press release. “These songs are about a kid who conquers a myriad of his own fears and learns to accept himself for the unique person he really is.”
The songs on the album couldn’t be different from each other—and yet, they all come together cohesively. “Monsters In My Head” is all about facing (and overcoming) your fears, while the title track questions who we are, and how we’re always ever-evolving. It also pokes fun at Howie’s boy band status, with someone asking him if he was with N’Sync, or Menudo, and then finally asking him, “Which one are you?” Howie D. then goes on to sing/explain each of the various guys from the Backstreet Boys (“Kevin likes to wear a mustache and goatee, and he sings a lot lower than me,” to “Brian is always laughing and joking like a clown.”) He admits that he’s the soft spoken peacemaker of the group.
There are a few standout songs on Which One Am I? “Shy” is a piano-driven song that hints at Howie’s sweet nature, (with lyrics like, “Never been the kind of guy who likes to be noticed and catch the eye/ I’d rather hide because I’m shy.”) while the Latin-inspired “No Hablo Espanol” talks everything from a bully to going to abuela’s house.
“Worry” has serious Bob Marley vibes, and you can tell Howie’s having a good time singing this song. He even sounds like Marley, too. And Howie pulls off the iconic song “Lean on Me” beautifully. But by far, our favorite was “The Me I’m Meant to Be”. It’s a true powerhouse ballad and is the showstopper of the entire album.
Said Howie: “The goal of Which One Am I? is to remind people that no matter what they’re going through, they can emerge victorious. I especially want kids who listen to the music to come away knowing that everything that happens teaches you how to develop into the person you were meant to be.”
At first, all of the different musical styles represented on Which One Am I? might be confusing. It seems like there’s no cohesive thread throughout the album — and that’s the exact point. Howie D is exploring all the various parts of his personality, and with each song, Howie lets us get to see who he is and know him better. And we totally want it that way.