Everybody knows about the mega-success the Backstreet Boys have achieved in their almost two-decade-long career. However, since the pop craze died down, the group has been working to find the perfect musical blend of the sound that made them popular & the popular sound of today with mixed results thus far both musically & success-wise. With their new album This Is Us, the guys turn to the current dance-tinged sound as a major influence, which I was hesitant about initially. When it comes down to it though, BSB did a pretty good job.
This Is Us kicks off on a great note with its lead single "Straight Through My Heart." The catchy uptempo would be all over radio if they knew what was best for them. The midtempo "Bigger" is nice--a modern-day boy band song, if you will. While "Bye Bye Love" is good musically, they kinda lose me with the cheesy lyrics. The fun gets right back on track, however, with another dance-influenced track, "All Of Your Life (You Need Love)." Another winner, "If I Knew Then," really shines because they gave AJ, the group's voice with the most character (& arguably the best one period), the lead.
The guys finally slow it down a bit with the title track "This Is Us." As a general rule--because all four of them are such great singers--I prefer ballads from the Boys, so I'm glad they weren't completely left out this time around. What could've been left out though is the corny-sounding "PDA." Yet, once again, they recover quickly with the uptempo "Masquerade." Now, I can't deny that "She's A Dream" was executed very well, but some of those lyrics (Brian, did you really just say "pesos?") & those weird grunts confuse me. Luckily for them, the following track "Shattered" makes it very easy to forgive. The powerful ballad features the guys doing what they do best & is rather awesome. I also have to give BSB props for the closer "Undone" because they manage to experiment vocally quite well & wrap things up in a good place.
This Is Us is a solid project with a great mix of songs & a surprisingly refreshing sound for the Backstreet Boys. Their uptempos may be a little hit-or-miss, but the good definitely outweigh the bad & as always, their talent carries them through. Many people continually complain that these days, you don't have to really be able to sing to find success in the industry. If you're tired of autotuned popstars, swallow your pride & find your way back to these Boys.
Rating: 4/5 Stars