Sunday, February 28, 2010

Backstreet Boys still got it goin’ on

February 28, 2010, 1:54pm

Like the few times they’ve visited and performed in the Philippines, the Backstreet Boys, the phenomenal pop boys band of the mid-90’s, had always something new to offer their Filipino fans.

With their “This Is Us” concert last Feb. 27 at the Araneta Coliseum, the boys showcased their updated music—a crossbreed of the classic Backstreet Boys sound given modern inputs from the world’s renown international producers and writers!

The “This Is Us” concert in Manila last Saturday, a downsized version of their original production – a smaller set, only a few female dancers and a DJ replacing their band, is part of their global tour for their latest album of the same title. “This Is Us” is their third album since coming back to the recording scene with “Never Gone” in 2005 and 2007’s “Unbreakable.” It is also their second album as a quartet—Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and Nick Carter (Kevin Richardson left in 2006). With the current tour, Backstreet Boys hopes to share with their millions of fans how their music evolved through time while maintaining the distinct Backstreet Boys sound that catapulted them to fame at the same time reminding people of their humble beginnings.

As the group once described in one of their interviews, helming “This Is Us,” the album brought them out of their “comfort zones” as they worked with different producers including those who were instrumental in making them popular worldwide like Max Martin “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “I Want It That Way,” and “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”). They were also proud “getting more personal” with the songwriters and producers they collaborated with in “This Is Us.”

Some cuts in “This Is Us” are also the result of working with modern day hitmakers like RedOne and Jim Jonsin. Prominent names in the music industry like T-Pain, Claude Kelly and even Pitbull have contributed to making “This Is Us” an album that houses the modern sound of Backstreet Boys!

And their album, since they worked on it during their “Unbreakable” concert tour, was envisioned to expose to the world their undying and always evolving creativity in music. As they have said in an interview, they simply want to top their past album and “raise the bar!”

So what did they mean with “raising the bar?” “I think we did it more for us. Raising the bar as far as our previous records. The ‘Unbreakable’ album was kind of getting back to the sound that our fans knew us for, pop, R&B, ballads and dance pop. It was never done with a bit of leftfield. It was more organic, it was more rock and nothing that we’re used to as Backstreet Boys… so with this album it is going back to the basic and it’s kind of setting the bar for us to go from here, to continue doing more albums and being ourselves. We try to always better ourselves. We keep on setting higher and higher goals,” explained A.J. McLean during an interview Saturday afternoon at the EDSA Shangri-La before their show at the Araneta Coliseum.

As for their reason and drive to continuously create new albums, A.J. with Howie Dorough during the interview session pointed out that it is not about the money anymore. “The music industry has changed so much and if we’re doing it for the money, we won’t be doing so good right now. Thank God we had successes in the past that we’re able to be comfortable enough that we don’t have to do it right now for the money. Don’t get me wrong, it is always great to make money especially for something you worked hard at. We now have the luxury to do now because we want to do it for ourselves and our amazing fans around the world,” exclaimed Howie.

“It is all about the music for us. We wouldn’t have the fans we have right now or the tours if we didn’t have great music,” added AJ.

So will their next album or songs be more experimental with their direction of creating new music for themselves? “I think in each of our albums, we tried to experiment. I think our biggest experiment was with the ‘Never Gone’ album since we took a time off. It was more of a pop rock. As music changes you have to evolve with it and we can’t exactly make the same music 15 years ago. Even though, believe it or not, that ‘This Is Now’ is more back to basic with simple melodies and more of the harmonies but obviously modernized,” described Howie.

“This Is Us” is composed of 11 cuts – “Straight Through My Heart,” “Bigger,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All of Your Life (You Need Love),” “If I Knew Then,” “This Is Us,” “PDA,” “Masquerade,” “She’s A Dream,” “Shattered” and “Undone.”

Backstreet Boys’ “This Is Us” aptly paints a picture of who they are now – evolved and matured with an insatiable creative hunger with their music! “We love to make music together. We don’t hold anybody back and we always keep the line of communication open and we stay passionate about it,” remarked A.J.

“We like what we do. We enjoy being with each other and we’re also competitors and we want to be on top. We strive to always be the best,” commented Howie on their longevity in the music business.

(With only a few more years before the Backstreet Boys reaches their 20th year as a group, AJ and Howie revealed the possibility of a “big show” to celebrate it or even another album. AJ will also be getting married this May.