AJ McLean Explains Why Backstreet Boys' Upcoming LP 'DNA' Is 'One of Our Best Bodies of Work'


The group launched their newest single 'Chances' immediately (Nov. 9).

Next 12 months could also be 2019, however for followers of the Backstreet Boys, it could really feel extra like 1999 once more. The legendary boy band should not solely releasing a brand new album, however they're additionally embarking on their greatest tour in almost 20 years.

The group gave followers a glimpse into this subsequent period of BSB on Friday morning (Nov 9) with a brand new single referred to as "Chances," a thumping love music that enables all 5 Backstreet Boys' voices to shine on their very own. The observe -- penned by a staff of writers, together with hitmakers Ryan Tedder and Shawn Mendes -- follows the group's dynamic comeback single "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," which landed the quintet their greatest Pop Songs airplay hit in 13 years.

Along with the brand new music, album information and tour announcement, BSB additionally launched the fanatical video for "Chances," which was directed by AJ McLean -- the primary time a Backstreet Boy bought behind the digicam for one among their visuals. That makes the observe significantly particular for McLean, however he guarantees that all the album (titled DNA, due Jan. 25 on RCA) is chock filled with unimaginable tunes. "Literally music for music, I really feel that each report on this album may very well be a single," he suggests.

Ahead of the discharge, Billboard caught up with McLean to listen to about working with Tedder on "Chances," directing the video, and why he believes DNA is likely one of the Backstreet Boys' finest albums of their profession.

How did you find yourself with "Chances" after Ryan Tedder and Shawn Mendes wrote it?

I’ve recognized Ryan for about 15 years -- him and I labored collectively on my first solo endeavor. So I stored saying “Dude, you’ve gotta ship us the hotness, man!”

Finally we bought a music submitted all of us fell head over heels in love with it. We liked what it mentioned, we liked the vibe. He's simply such a superb author and simply an all-around superior freaking man. And identical with Shawn. Shawn’s so gifted and a freaking sweetheart. I hate he’s so tall and good-looking, it kills me. [Laughs.]

What made it really feel like the best follow-up to "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"?

"Chances" is sonically the closest to "Don’t Go Breaking My Heart," but it surely additionally stands by itself. Lyrically, the music it’s not your typical Backstreet Boys love music, which is one thing all of us actually preferred. It’s extra of that real looking love story about likelihood, to seek out that individual in probably the most precarious of eventualities. It’s a extremely stunning love music.

Also, everybody will get their second to shine, and it’s simply an throughout a feel-good report. Going into the vacations, you don’t need a full-on dance, power-pop report, you may want one thing a bit bit sweeter. I feel we actually nailed it with this music.

You simply directed the music video on your personal solo single, "Night Visions" -- is that what impressed you to direct "Chances"?

I form of bought a bit little bit of the excitement for the directing factor! I actually get pleasure from it, and I'd even love to do it for different artists exterior of our group. But I feel it’s one among our best possible movies to this point.

That's an enormous factor to say as a Backstreet Boy. You guys had so many iconic movies!

We did, however I feel so far as aesthetically, visually, this video actually stands out. It’s the primary time that you just see all 5 of us sporting fits in a video, for one. There’s a ravishing elegant dance sequence that, as a substitute of chopping again from the dancing to us singing, it’s an uninterrupted 30 seconds of a ravishing dance routine. I used to be a bit bit scared that I used to be going to get pushback, however the fellas liked it, the label liked it, administration liked it, and so they mentioned "Don’t contact it."

It takes you off on this new world, form of how La La Land did -- "Is this immediately, is that this 30 years later? I don't care, I’m in love with what I’m seeing." That’s form of the entire inspiration behind it.

As for the lyrics of the music, do you see it connecting with the story of how BSB was shaped, in a approach?

There’s undoubtedly an homage to that how issues transpired for us. What are the possibilities us 5 guys would come collectively from all walks of life, from completely different states, completely different backgrounds, completely different upbringings, and be right here 25 years later nonetheless making music, nonetheless having enjoyable, and about to embark on our greatest tour in 18 years?

You know, it's humorous, I simply considered one thing -- to at the present time, each time we do any form of interview or no matter, individuals all the time throw in that tongue-in-cheek “Backstreet’s again!” and we've got to say “All proper!” I bought a sense "Chances" is gonna be the brand new one. Every interview for the remainder of this tour goes to be like, “So what do you suppose the probabilities had been this, this and this,” Like, "Oh, there it's once more. Chances."

You guys simply should be extra cautious about naming music titles that may be puns.

Puns are the very best a part of a variety of issues, so so long as it’s being talked about, then we’ve finished our job. We’ve made the influence with one other nice music, and it’s simply been in regards to the music for us, and it all the time can be. If we are able to hold making nice music, then we’re going to remain round for 25 extra years.

I've a sense that'll occur with the album title DNA too. What sparked that title concept?

Kevin was the catalyst for it, principally strolling us down reminiscence lane and reminding us, "Guys, take into consideration what has actually encompassed the sound of the Backstreet Boys. It's been digital, and analog. Songs like '[Everybody] Backstreet’s Back' or 'Larger Than Life' undoubtedly fall within the digital class, and songs like 'As Long As You Love Me,' 'Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,' 'I Want It That Way' which have that acoustic stay really feel, fall within the analog division."

As quickly as he mentioned that, I used to be like, "So principally it’s kinda just like the DNA of what makes up the group." And all people checked out me like, "That’s the album title." I used to be like "You’re welcome." Wasn’t my plan, however all proper. What are the probabilities Kevin would’ve mentioned it? [Laughs.]

How a lot involvement did you guys have within the creation course of for this one?

We had been undoubtedly hands-on with the entire report, actually letting every of us have their second to shine. There's actually outstanding group data, there's some data the place there’s solely three guys singing, there’s some data the place there’s solely two guys singing. Really making an attempt to make this album form of one thing completely different for everybody, but additionally a distinct expertise for us as properly to form of break up the monotony of it.

The one factor I feel will ring actually true on this album, compared to our final album In A World Like This, is that we’ve undoubtedly gotten again to that signature Backstreet sound so far as the harmonies. We actually actually tuned that again in once more.

I feel you guys have finished a very good job of nonetheless being the Backstreet Boys, however the Backstreet Boys in 2018. How do you suppose you've managed to do this?

With each album, we all the time attempt to one-up ourselves. One factor we take pleasure in is we by no means attempt to conform to what's occurring elsewhere within the music world and to remain in our personal lane. Whether it's doing one thing like Las Vegas, which is capitalizing on that nostalgia, but additionally reigniting the flame and reinventing ourselves once more, and getting ourselves hyped about embarking on a model new journey collectively, with a brand new album, with what you mentioned, Backstreet Boys of 2018.

You’ll hear songs on the album that can take you again, however the manufacturing could be very present, or the lyrical content material could be very pressing, however the harmonies or melodies could take you again to the Millennium album, or Black and Blue, and even the primary album. We discovered a strategy to embody the final 25 years on this album.

Where do you suppose this falls within the rating of all 10 Backstreet Boys albums?

I do know it’s a daring assertion, however I’d say it’s proper up there in between Millenium and Black and Blue. It’s simply such a tremendous physique of labor. We actually have nice songs that present development. There’s sure components from every music that takes you again to these superb albums, whether or not it’s the manufacturing, the lyrics or the melodies. This is one among our greatest our bodies of labor in a very long time. I really, really consider it.

You mentioned the Vegas present reignited a flame. I'd assume the residency will play into how the tour comes collectively, however did it even have any influence on how the album got here collectively?

It form of falls into each. We’ve been doing these songs for a very long time, however seeing new faces within the crowd, and to see new followers falling in love with us for the primary time, and followers who've been with us for 25 years falling in love yet again, is so inspiring in so many ways in which it reignited this new hearth beneath our butts and say, “We’ve bought to ramp issues up guys, we’ve bought to go to the subsequent stage.” And that’s precisely what we did.