BEVERLY HILLS, California — Backstreet Boys fans determined to find out details about the group’s comeback might have “Incomplete” information.
Since some radio stations began playing a leaked song called “Incomplete” last month, many have assumed it’s the first single from the group’s as-yet-untitled new album, but that may not be the case.
While participating in various Grammy-related events recently, the Backstreet Boys revealed they are still deciding between “Incomplete,” “I Still” and “Weird World,” written by Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik.
Fans will find out March 18, when the single will be officially released to radio stations. “Whatever it is, it’s going to shock you,” Nick Carter promised.
The group finished recording last month and is now narrowing down a list of 43 completed tracks to the 15 or so that’ll make the album (see “Backstreet Men? The Boys Grow Up On First Album In Five Years” ).
“It’s going to be a hard process, but I think we have our favorites,” Howie Dorough said.
“The [best songs] reveal themselves,” Kevin Richardson said. “You just kind of keep cutting and the cream rises to the top. All we wanted to do on this record is explore — we recorded some heavy urban R&B tracks, we recorded some kinda heavy rock tracks, and we kind of found a place in the middle.”
The Backstreet Boys worked with Boyz II Men, a cappella masters Take 6 and former Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes, as well as producers the Underdogs, John Shanks, Billy Mann and veteran teen-pop songsmith Max Martin.
“Max is actually the one that kind of made us shift and turn from going more urban and R&B more towards the [rock],” A.J. McLean said.
“Our whole album, we feel like this time, has a more organic sound,” Richardson added. “We have more live instrumentation than in the past albums. We’re using a lot of sequencers and synthesizers and stuff. I think it’s safe to say it’s on a kinda rock/pop/alternative vibe.”
It took the group more than a year to make the album because “we were kind of lost for a little while,” according to Richardson.
“Things were moving so fast,” he said. “We have perspective now. We’re all in a great place. A.J. is doing great, two and a half years sober now. Brian’s got a baby boy. The batteries are recharged. We’ve had a chance to step back and soak it all in.”
Being at the Grammy events, especially at the MusiCares tribute to Brian Wilson, where they sang “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” (see “Chili Peppers, Backstreet Salute Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson” ), got the guys extra stoked about returning to the spotlight.
“We’re anxious to get back onstage,” McLean said. “[MusiCares] was just a little taste, and now it’s just like, ’God, I wanna get on the road again!’ ”
While their album is scheduled for a summer release, the Backstreet Boys are planning a warm-up club tour to kickoff next month. So far three dates have trickled out: March 24 at the Avalon in Boston, April 1 at the NorVa in Norfolk, Virginia, and April 2 at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.