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    Boys to Men - Backstreet's Back

    Gianna S.
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    Boys to Men - Backstreet's Back

    Post by Gianna S. on Thu 06 Nov 2008, 1:59 pm

    Boys to Men

    Backstreet's back -- older, wiser & finally living in harmony

    Littrell, Carter, McLean and Dorough.

    Their days of sold-out stadium tours and multi-platinum record sales may be behind them.
    But former teen-pop sensations the Backstreet Boys had no trouble
    drawing a crowd to one of their most recent performances -- singing the
    national anthem at the World Series opener in Tampa. And despite what a few crabby Internet
    critics had to say, the Boys delivered a totally decent rendition,
    eschewing the typical over-the-top high notes for subdued streetcorner
    crooning. The scaled-down arrangement played to the
    Boys' strengths, while serving as a reminder that -- beneath all the
    goofy choreography and calculated sex appeal -- most boy banders
    possess the ability to hit a harmony right out of the park. "I do think sometimes that true talent is
    overlooked," says BSB member Brian Littrell, now 33, from his home in
    Atlanta, Ga. "When it comes to boy bands and things of yesteryear ...
    people like to remember only certain things. And the things they choose
    to remember are the hype and the blown-out-of-proportion success that
    the Backstreet Boys had been able to achieve in the past. But sometimes
    people overlook the raw talent of just being able to sing."

    Certainly the Backstreet Boys -- Littrell, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter
    and A.J. McLean (Littrell's cousin Kevin Richardson bowed out in 2006)
    -- know how it feels to be overlooked. Even while reaping the rewards of their
    mid- to late-'90s fame -- a period when they ruled the teeny-bopper
    roost on the strength of singles Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),
    Larger Than Life and I Want It That Way -- they were also regular
    targets of those who dismissed pre-fab pop as just another passing fad.
    Some 15 years after their debut, that fad
    is still going strong (these days, commandeered by Disney commodities
    Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers), though Littrell says he and his
    Boys aren't as concerned with currying favour. "There was a time in our career, in the
    late 1990s and early 2000s, when we felt like it was our job to force
    people to respect us," he says. "It's not that way anymore. The older
    we get, the less worried we are about what people think of us. As long
    as we're comfortable doing what we do, that goes a lot farther than
    trying to be something we're not." For a while there, the Boys' career arc
    was marred by some decidedly uncomfortable growing pains: Littrell was
    nearly sidelined by heart complications in 1998, Dorough lost his
    sister to lupus the same year, McLean went public with drug and alcohol
    addictions in 2003, and Carter racked up a trifecta of public
    embarrassments (dating Paris Hilton, being charged with drunk driving
    and appearing in a short-lived reality show with his constantly
    squabbling siblings). And of course, there was the controversy
    surrounding former manager Lou Pearlman, the boy band mogul who first
    brought the Boys together, and who was later sued by the group (along
    with labelmates 'N Sync) on charges he'd swindled them out of millions.
    Pearlman is now serving prison time on a
    series of unrelated fraud convictions, and while the Boys aren't keen
    to revisit the subject, they have been known to sing snippets of Justin
    Timberlake's hit What Goes Around ... Comes Around when pressed for
    comment. As for Littrell, he'd rather discuss the
    Boys' 2007 album Unbreakable, which marks a return to their dance-pop
    roots, following the pop-rock terrain explored on 2005's Never Gone.
    "The Backstreet Boys wanted to get back to
    doing what we feel we're pretty good at," he says. "If you see our
    show, you'll notice the Backstreet Boys haven't changed a lot. We've
    grown up, but our sound is still very signature to who we are." Having earned the begrudging respect of
    those who'd dissed them in the past, the Boys now find it easier to
    live in public -- something that wasn't possible when their images were
    still plastered on the cover of Teen Beat. "We've grown up in the public eye, but I
    think there's a different sense of who (we) are today," says the
    singer, a devout Christian who released a faith-based album in 2006.
    "When I go out in public to eat with my family, and people recognize me
    or look at me funny ... I think they have a little more respect for who
    I am as a person, rather than just being a flashy pop star." That sense of respect also exists among
    the Boys themselves, whose history hasn't always been harmonious,
    despite outward appearances. "The Backstreet Boys of today are more
    together than we ever have been in the past," says Littrell. "When I
    was with the guys in Tampa doing the World Series game, we all got up
    together and had breakfast at the hotel. The Backstreet Boys of 10
    years ago -- we never did that. Our lives were too crazy and too far
    apart, and we all had our own agendas going on because our success
    level was at such a crazy high. But today, you'll find we have one of
    those bonds ... that will stand the test of time -- the good times and
    the bad. We need each other and we know that, so we're happy to be
    doing what we do."


    Where: MTS Centre
    When: Wed., Nov. 12
    With: Divine Brown
    Tickets: $39.50 - $75 @ Ticketmaster


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