The Backstreet Boys are far from boys these days.
Almost all of them are married (Nick Carter was recently engaged), four of the five have children (the oldest is 11), and this week, they celebrated their 20th year as a band. “It’s amazing,” Kevin Richardson, 41, told EW before the band previewed material from their forthcoming record for fans in Hollywood Saturday night. “To be able to do this for so long, it’s quite an accomplishment.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so. The band is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this Monday, the latest accomplishment for the group best known for its record-breaking albums sales in the late ’90s and early ’00s. For Brian Littrell, 38, the band’s journey from Orlando-start-up to Walk of Fame honorees doesn’t seem as long as it probably should. “Sometimes life gets too fast, especially with Millennium and Black and Blue and stuff that happened many years ago. It just moves too fast,” he says.
As the band prepares to put the finishing touches on the still untitled album due later this year, their first full-length effort since separating from now defunct Jive Records, they say that their approach to releasing has, naturally, evolved with the music industry. “People’s attention spans are quick, and you have to think about that in the process of making your record and releasing new material,” says Richardson, who is also celebrating a return to the band after taking a break from 2006-2012. “You have to keep that in mind, which is something we didn’t do in the past.”
But A.J. McLean, 35, sees the band as being in a unique position. “Some people might just want that one song [when you release it], but the upside is that, for us, you still have loyal, loyal die-hard fans that want that tangible CD, that will buy the full CD. They want the pictures and they want to know who wrote on the songs. They want the package.”
Littrell adds: “Hopefully we still have the fans out there who do that and have that personal connection [with us] and remember when they were 10, 13, or 18 and listen to the album from start to finish. I hope that happens with the new record.”
If Saturday night’s event is any indication, they don’t have much to worry about. Hundreds of fans were present for the album preview, in which the band played pieces of eight songs, including dance track “In Your Arms,” bullying-themed “Madeline,” mid-tempo “Soldier,” love song “Breathe,” acoustic-driven “Trust Me,” classic BSB-sounding “P.S.,” and a song penned for their children, titled “Show ‘em What You’re Made Of.” All but the latter are available in the preview below.
“It’s really powerful music that we have a connection with that’s about what we’re going through right now,” Richardson said later in a press conference.