By Adeshola Adigun

Sixteen years after the group’s founding in Orlando, Fla., the Backstreet Boys released their seventh U.S. album “This Is Us.”

Now a quartet, after Kevin Richardson’s departure from the group to start a family in 2006, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Litrell and A.J. McClean collectively put together a 13-track pop and R&B album with the energy the Backstreet Boys originally brought to the world.

The entire album blends together nicely with several song concepts are easily relatable regardless of gender or race, making the album relevant to all audiences.

“Why another album?” one might ask.

“We still feel like we’re really relevant to pop music,” said Dorough in a recent interview with Transporter about “This Is Us.”

“Bye Bye Love,” a song about a girl that leaves for another guy and comes back when the other guy starts doing her wrong, is ironically one of the album’s bubbliest tracks. The track has an uptempo Eurodance feel, with sounds similar to that of Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee).”

I’m not sure where you went to high school, but at mine, PDA, or public displays of affection, weren’t permitted. Of course, we all did it anyway, and Backstreet assures their audience, “Public display of affection makes them wish they had it this way,” in their track titled “P.D.A.”

“She’s A Dream,” produced by T-Pain, is about that dream girl who doesn’t know of your past or reputation and wants to be with you for who you are. The line that stands out most is, “Shorty don’t know who I am, but she knows me!”

One doesn’t have to be of celebrity status to relate to the song; high school and college students often find themselves in a similar situation, meeting someone that wants to get to know them regardless of who they’ve dated in the past.

We all have choices we’ve made that we would probably change if given the chance. “If I Knew Then” takes the cliché of wanting to go back in time and do things different and makes it original and catchy.

“There ain’t no handbook. You’re on your own,” the group sings. “Got no instructions when it comes to love.”

Sure, we all know that, but hearing them sing it adds a new flavor to that knowledge.

“Bigger” is one of the album’s most touching songs. Often in relationships, things become one-sided, leaving the other to put forth more effort to keep things together. This song is well written and the group does a great job sounding sincere in admitting to flaws in lines like, “all the messed up things I do, I swear I’ll make them up to you!”

“’Bigger’ is a love song,” Carter said. “What the song is talking about is that that person’s bigger than you because they can out their pride aside, they can out their feelings aside and do what’s best for the relationship.”
The track “This Is Us” grabs hold of the listener’s ears by taking the pain of past relationships and relaxing the soul.

“Forget what he has done to you, I’m here now!” they sing. I’ve met girls I wanted to pursue but had a hard time because they were “trying to get over” a recent ex, or “trying to recover” from an unhealthy relationship.

The Backstreet Boys not only use this common scenario, but also serenade their female audience during the chorus using repetition to soothe the listener, reminiscent of Drake’s “So Far Gone” track “Uptown.”

There aren’t any songs like previous Backstreet Boys hit “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” which was sort of a let down, because I feel that it’s one of their best songs.

“This Is Us” is a fun listen, whether you’re cruising around with your friends, spending time with your significant other or alone in your room writing an album review of the new Backstreet Boys album.