Call them bubblegum. Call them a boy band. Call them, well seeing as how they're much older than any Jonas, Backstreet Men. It doesn't matter to Nick Carter so long as people keep listening to their unapologetic dance pop music and buying their records. "Words can't describe the way I feel," the Backstreet Boy said of his band's forthcoming new album "This Is Us" - out Oct. 6. "Everything just fit like a glove." The band's seventh studio album is vintage Backstreet: infectious dance tracks (like first single "Straight Through My Heart") to killer ballads but with a twist. The producers and writers on the album include T-Pain, Max Martin, RedOne, and Soulshock. Impressive, and Carter knows it. I spoke with him late last month about the record, and how he and bandmates (Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and AJ McLean) have managed to stick together no matter how many times they've been thrown under a bus (especially Carter).
It's been awhile since we've heard from you guys. What was the logic going into the studio this time out?
It's been a little while. We found this out in the past - when you over think something in the recording process, it just sort of gets a little muddled. This was just the right amount of time. We just immediately had a direction we went in. We did only 25-30 songs in the demo recording process. [The album has 11 cuts.]
What are your hopes at this point for the album? Yet another hit single or acclaim?
Honestly if we have success of this in a commercial way that'd be great, but I think the music just feels so good that we just want to take it to the stage, and perform this amazing show on the caliber of great artists like Michael Jackson, Janet and Britney. We want to do what we do best and that's entertain. That's our main goal: [to] reach out to people who are fans, and people who were fans. We want them to come to a show with their families, girlfriends, boyfriends and have a freakin' blast in a time where honestly there's not a lot of great performances anymore.
Not too many great performances?
Sure there's bands. I love rock bands -- guitar and drums -- but we're bringing four dancers on the road, having a magnificent million dollar stage -- on a level like only a certain amount of pop artists can do. We're dancing again. We're in great shape. Madonna does stuff like that as well, but we're younger than Madonna. We're younger than Janet. We're younger than the late Mike [Jackson]. We still have got a lot to offer.
How have you guys evolved throughout your career? You guys are all grown men now.
The good thing about us is we can always sing love songs. The majority of our songs are the good side of love or the bad side of love. We never get too political on issues that have gone on. We don't tend to put them in our songs as much, because who wants to hear that from a boy band? We just want to create music people can dance to, and [let people] just smile and forget about the problems. We're not a candidate to be president or anything.
You don't mind the label of boy band?
Call us whatever you want to call us. We really don't care anymore. I think when you put the title of "boy band" it's looked at as some kind of negative but we have gotten positives.
What's your secret to staying together for so long?
We're all group guys and love pop music that's all it is. We have a common goal and we're entertainers. We're performers and we love being on stage singing, and love creating that next album.
You've been through the ringer with tabloids -- how do you all; stay focused on the music and drown out the noise?
It really doesn't matter what others think. If we start worrying about the outside world too much then it starts to affect your decision making. You've got to dig down deep enough, and know what you've done for the past 17 years been together.
And you guys all learn from your mistakes and it makes your relationship stronger?
Yeah exactly that's what it's all about: evolving. We've always been a little sheltered -- stepping out here and just learning.
Are you guys often bothered to give advice for today's boy bands like the Jonas Brothers or whoever?
They ask advice. Ultimately, everyone has their own path and everybody's life is different. I mean there's some fundamentals that you should take into consideration when it comes to career. Always pay attention to history. It'll teach you not what to do.
Follow Jon Chattman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecheappop