With never gone, Backstreet’s back!

According to their latest album title, the Backstreet Boys were Never Gone, but until its release, the boy band’s former teeny-bopper fans led lives that could only be described as “Incomplete,” the name of the album’s first single. Resident bad-boy A.J. McLean taps into the souls of fans who desperately missed their favorite purveyor of saccharine slow jams and bubblegum pop as he croons, “Empty spaces fill me up with holes/distant faces with no place left to go.”

The album begins with the obvious best tracks of the album, the aforementioned “Incomplete” and their second single, “Just Want You To Know.” The latter delights with an infectious beat and happy-go-lucky lyrics that are sure to please, even without viewing the song’s hilarious, ’80’s hair band spoofing video.

It’s too bad that the quality of the album takes a sharp turn for the worse a third of the way in, and continues to follow a sinusoidal, rollercoaster wave as the BSB throw in some downright awful songs.

The only redeeming factor of the album’s abysmal body are tracks that drop the tempo like “Crawling Back To You” and “Siberia.” Ever since their debut in 1997, Backstreet’s strong suit has alway boy band is no different.

Those who never wanted BSB “that way” won’t be won over this time, and those who abandoned their “BSBLuvr4Eva” screennames after Black and Blue will leave this disc on album shelves and download the singles if they get nostalgic. Only the die-hard who dreamed of Nick, Brian, A.J., Kevin and Howie’s return to the limelight will be able to tolerate all 12 tracks to believe BSB was Never Gone.

Hannah Bae can be contacted at h.bae@umiami.edu.