Backstreet Boys will return to charm Korean fans at a concert at the Melon-AX Hall, Wednesday, as part of its ``This is Us World Tour."
/ Courtesy of Nine Factory
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Boy bands are as popular as ever in Korea, with groups like 2PM, Big Bang, SuperJunior and TVXQ. But in the United States, the trend peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Backstreet Boys (BSB), N'Sync and 98 Degrees sent millions of teenage girls swooning with their cute looks, mushy love songs and slick dance moves.
While most of the boy bands have disbanded and been forgotten, Backstreet Boys has remained together, still making music and touring around the world.
BSB members AJ McLean and Brian Littrell said the group has always remained focused on their music throughout the years.
``There were a lot of things going on but music was always our main focus. It is quite hard to survive in the music industry but we managed. We tried to stay focused for the past 17 years and understand each other, which made our bond stronger and that's our secret. We spend the best days of our lives together, there is no reason why we can't in the future," said McLean and Littrell in an email interview with The Korea Times.
The group also includes Nick Carter and Howie Dorough. Kevin Richardson left the group in 2006. The group, formed by producer Lou Perlman in Orlando, Florida, made their debut in 1993. Since then, the group has sold over 130 million records and had 14 Top 40 hits on the Billboard charts.
McLean and Littrell said the members continue to be good friends because of their openness with one another.
``We open our hearts and talk to each other. It is important to realize that all members can have different opinions about different things and situations. BSB is like marriage. It can't be sweet all the time. You have to share feelings and understand each other. As years go by, it's becoming easier to understand each other better," they said.
In terms of their music, Backstreet Boys believe they've become more mature and improved their singing. Their seventh album, ``This is Us," which was released last year, included electronic pop dance songs and ballads in collaboration with T-Pain, RedOne and One Republic's Ryan Tedder.
``This album shows what we are, the current sound of BSB and hopefully the future sound, too. This album shows where we're headed with music," they said.
Looking back on their career, BSB finds it hard to believe it has achieved so much.
``None of us expected to go this far. But I think we're still humble. Some people might have criticized us since we were so focused on success, but we're still a bunch of regular guys. We are blessed to have been able to do what we want for 15 years and hopefully 15 more, but that would be a goal hard to achieve," McLean and Littrell said.
Backstreet Boys returns to Korea for a concert Wednesday at the Melon-AX Hall. The members have fond memories of visiting Korea, and are looking forward to meeting their loyal fans and eating a lot of ``bulgogi" (marinated beef).
``Our favorite food is bulgogi. This time, we're going to have some as soon as we arrive. Korean fans are really passionate and we are looking forward to seeing that again," the members said.
Right now, BSB is on tour, hoping to connect with their fans around the world. They have upcoming concert dates in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
``We would like to let people know that we're still here. We didn't quit and would like to let the fans know that. We're proud of this album and hope that fans keep it close for a long time," they said.
The BSB concert starts at 8 p.m., Feb. 24. Tickets are 110,000 won. For English booking, visit ticket.interpark.com/global. To get to Melon-AX Hall, get off at Gwangnaru Station, line 5, exit 2.