The music scene

It’s a new ‘World’ for Backstreet Boys

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The Backstreet Boys have spent the last few months visiting radio stations across the country promoting their new album, In A World Like This.

Wait — really?

“It’s basically like 1996 all over again,” West Palm Beach native AJ McLean said in a phone interview.

The group is all grown up, of course, and the new album — the first the quintet has recorded since 2005’s Never Gone — is also the first to be released on the band’s own independent label, K-BAHN. The group left Jive Records in 2011 after past disputes.

This time, BSB — which also includes Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell — have had to take the indie trail. McLean said that the big-time radio plays of the past are no more.

“No marketing, no support,” he said. “We’re going back to those drastic roots.”

But it has worked. In A World Like This hit No. 5 on the Billboard chart earlier this month, making the boys a successful nine for nine in albums to reach the top 10.

“It’s just mind-blowing. You don’t need that big label to achieve the highest goal,” McLean said.

The lack of a major label gave the group complete control to “write about whatever the hell we want,” according to McLean. “It was a little nerve racking,” he said of recording the album last year in London.

In the video for the Max Martin-produced title track, a television screen shows the Supreme Court’s dismissal of California’s Proposition 8, paving the way for legalized gay marriage. And in Madeleine and Show’ Em (What You’re Made Of), the group touches on suicides, bullying and their own children.

The latter track McLean co-wrote. On the opening verse, he sings, “You find the truth in a child’s eyes,” a telling lyric for McLean, who has battled addictions and stints in rehab. His daughter Ava is less than a year old.

“I just want to set a good example for my daughter,” he said. “By touching on certain subject matters, I think it shows people we’re more than just a typical pop band.”

And that is true of the entire album. Songs range from acoustic harmonies to heavy ballads and catchy dance numbers. McLean said it is the Backstreet Boys’ “best album since Millennium.”

And during Sunday night’s show at Cruzan Amphitheatre, McLean promises some of those “old dance moves.” The hometown boy plans to be in the area early to have lunch with his parents and reconnect with friends he has not seen in 20 years.

He visited his hometown recently for the upcoming Backstreet Boys documentary, which chronicles the rise of all five members. McLean showed the other guys his childhood room (with the permission of the current homeowners) and even visited some of his elementary school teachers.

The Boys will make another trip South in October for their third annual fan cruise, which leaves out of PortMiami for a weekend voyage to the Bahamas. The trip will be Kevin Richardson’s first time aboard.

For McLean, the success has finally hit a reflection point. He said the late ’90s and early 2000s was a “whirlwind” that was hard to bask in.

“Now, we can look back and go ‘Wow,’ ” McLean said.

Anthony Cave

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 2

    Director Wes Craven is 75. Singer Kathy Lennon of The Lennon Sisters is 71. Actress Joanna Cassidy is 69. Actress Kathryn Harrold is 64. Actor Butch Patrick (“The Munsters”) is 61. Actress Victoria Jackson is 55. Actress Apollonia is 55. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is 50. Director Kevin Smith is 44. Actor Sam Worthington is 38. Actor Edward Furlong is 37. Actress Hallie Eisenberg is 22.

  • Scene in the Tropics

    Sean Connery loves soccer (and Caffe Abbracci)

    Sean Connery had dinner Monday night with a group of friends at Caffe Abbracci. Connery greeted and shook hands with fans as he entered the room and was overheard chatting with restaurant owner Nino Pernetti about the World Cup, saying he regrets that his native country Scotland did not qualify and that England was eliminated in the first round. He did concede that Germany was the rightful winner. Connery also told Pernetti that what he enjoys most in life after making movies is ... soccer. The ex 007 left the restaurant, saying “Cheerio,” to the owner and his starstruck guests.

  • As seen on TV

    Starz' ‘Outlander' brings novels to life

    Prepare to bend your mind. Premiering on the Starz network on Saturday at 9 p.m., Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular novels. Claire, a lovely British Army nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is mysteriously swept from 1945 back to 1743, plopped into a strange and alien existence, including marriage to a dashing Scottish warrior, even as she struggles to return to “modern” times and the husband she left behind.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category