I discovered the Backstreet Boys (BSB) sometime around the age of 14. It was love at first listen and, I’ve loved them ever since. It’s difficult to be objective about a group that has literally been in your musical life for nearly 18 years. Every major event in my life good or bad, is linked to their music in some way. The Backstreet Boys are without question my favorite musical group and I can safely say they always will be. I tell you all this because I am going to attempt to review their new album but I can’t really be objective or critical when it comes to my boys.
In A World Like This By The Backstreet Boys
In A World Like this is the 8th studio album the Backstreet Boys have released since they got together in 1993. That’s right people they have been together for 20 years. All 8 of those albums and the compilation CD they released with New Kids On The Block have debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard charts. First if you want a little musical background info click here for their official bio. Also check out this cool musical timeline on their website.
In A World Like This is the first album with all five members since 2005 and boy did it throw some fans for a loop.Kevin Richardson left the group in 2006 but, the other 4 continued to record and tour without him. It’s also the first album the guys have released without Jive their long time record company.The Backstreet Boys have a “sound”. It’s distinctive to them, call it a Swedish pop sound or a Max Martin sound either way it’s theirs. In A World Like This was not that sound. The thing is unless you are pretty familiar with the BSB you would probably say I’m crazy for saying that. In fact every person I’ve told that to tells me I’m kind of crazy because to them, it sounds like all the others. This album is the first one where most of the songs (8 out the 12) were written by BSB themselves. Over the years they have written a song here or there on some of the albums but never this many. So arguably you would have to say this is the most “Backstreet” Backstreet Boys album of all. I happen to be one of the fans who loved this album right off the bat. The standout song on this album for me is Breathe. A.J, Brian and Howie co-wrote this with a couple other guys. Breathe is haunting and beautiful and really romantic Breathe is the song that really made me realize how much I missed Kevin’s voice.
Show Em’ (What You’re Made Of )co- written by Kevin and A.J is a dedication to their children. Four out of the five guys are married and have kids so, it makes sense that they would want to write about them. It’s really a love song to their kids and I love the idea that their kids will have that forever. Soldier, Love Somebody ,One Phone Call and Make Believe are a nod to the BSB sound although they all have something that makes them a bit different. All co-written by a combination of the guys they are traditional BSB mid-temp love songs with a twist. Although they feel like BSB songs I don’t feel like they could have been on any other album for some reason. Kevin and Howie both play a large part in these songs. Traditionally Nick, Brian and A.J sing the bulk of the vocals with Kevin and Howie singing background and harmony vocals.Permanent Stain is perhaps the quintessential Backstreet Boys mid-temp love song. This song could have fit right in to almost any other album except perhaps their first. Madeline one of the few songs not written by the guys, is a stay strong it will be OK, it will get better song. Aimed at people who are dealing with bullying, it’s the kind of song I would have had on repeat in middle school during those tough times which is to say, all the time. Trust me which was not written by any of the guys and Feels like home co-written by 3 of them have a slight country feel to me. Feels like home is for the fans, letting us know they appreciate us which, is something they do often It was actually a bit refreshing as they are the least “Backstreet” of the bunch. These two songs are unlike anything I have ever heard on a BSB album and that makes them fun. Try another of the songs not penned by the guys has a distinctly singer/songwriter vibe to it. I am not a singer/songwriter fan unless apparently the Backstreet Boys are doing it. AJ sings lead on the entire song with the others just providing some harmonies. It really is a beautiful song and AJ has such an amazing voice that you almost don’t miss the others. This is another song that feels so different from anything they have ever done before. That brings us to In A Word Like This the title track from the album. This song marks the return of Max Martin who was behind BSB’s biggest and most well know hit I Want It That Way. Martin has penned quite a few of BSB’s songs and many of them were hits, all of them were great. Something about the combo of BSB and Martin is magical it just always works out well. It’s a song about hope and choosing love and happiness in the midst of all the ugly things in this world.
If I had to give a star rating to this album it would be 5 out 5 stars for sure. Although it’s really unlike any other BSB album it still works so well. I think a friend of mine put her finger on whats different about this album, it’s Kevin. I really believe that he influenced the change in the music. Perhaps it’s also the split from Jive that influenced the change. I can safely say that whatever the Backstreet Boys record I’m probably going to love so like I said I can’t be objective. I love that so many songs were written by them it makes it so personal. This may be the most authentic album The Backstreet Boys have ever created. I have had an emotional attachment to each album before this for different reasons. In A World Like This is no different than the others in that regard. Years down the line when I am listening to these songs it will remind me of certain things in my life. No other band or musical act has had that type of effect on me I would say that’s pretty special!
I was going to list out some of the best tracks but I realized that I would just be listing all of the tracks so just listen to this album!