The Backstreet Boys – Various Tracks [Jim Jonsin/Rico Love, Brian Kennedy/Graffiti Artists, Soulshock & Karlin/Claude Kelly]

Here’s almost an album’s worth of tracks that The Backstreet Boys record company have failed to keep under wraps but I think all still deserve to be placed on the project. I didn’t think I was gonna like anything the guys brought because I’m far from a massive fan but they’ve really impressed me with the quality of material they’re bringing this time around.

“Calling Your Name” and “Helpless” bring some new light on Jim Jonsin’s production style, as even though they still have elements of his dirty-south/crunk-R&B they’re a lot more muted than usual and along with the well-arranged vocals (listen to that distorted background vocal on the chorus of “Helpless”) I assume by common collaborator Rico Love, bring an almost haunted sound to the tracks. I like the added rap from Pitbull on “Helpless” for a bit of extra street cred as well.

The guys have also recorded the fantastic Brian Kennedy/Graffiti Artists demo “Hologram” for the album. BK’s electronic pulsating beat and the technology-age themed lyrics also fit in with the unusual, almost haunting style of a lot of the tracks I’ve heard from the project up to now and I really like it. Although its not one of Andre Merritt or Chris Brown’s best demos and I’d prefer to see tracks like “Welcome To The Jungle”, “Nasty Girl” and “Flamethrower” getting placed its a decent track and I’m glad The Graffiti Artists are still getting placements as since “Disturbia” I’ve been hooked on them.
“Shattered” is more like the material one might expect from a BSB track as a piano-driven ballad but its still not bad quality at all and the background arrangements on the chorus, along with the epic modern strings bring more of an R&B vibe to the track while still maintaining that pop sensibility BSB are known for.
Next is onto an awesome trio collabo and probably my most anticipated tracks from the project, that is the two Soulshock & Karlin/Claude Kelly tracks that have been all over TwitterNews this past month. “What I Know Now” shows both Claude & S&K’s diversity with Claude bringing his catchy pop side to the track as he did with the Kelly Clarkson tracks and S&K matching this with a poppy production but still with some of their R&B sensibilities like that stuttering heavy drum pattern that they’re so good at delivering. “Bye Bye Love” is apparently a single contender and I can definitely see why, as its upbeat and even more catchy than “What I Know Now” with its Chris Brown “Forever”-esque euro-R&B influenced production and sing-along ready chorus. Although we only have the demo to “What I Know Now” we hardly need it for “Bye Bye Love” as Claude’s vocal style is all over it!
These tracks, with their perfect balance of Pop & R&B really have me amped for the first time for a BSB project and considering the quality they’re delivering this time around (as opposed to the awful style of “Inconsolable” from their last project) with every track I wish them every success for the album “This Is Us”, with the first single apparently dropping in July and the album set to follow in September.

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