After a six-year hiatus, Richardson returned to the studio for the Backstreet Boys' eighth studio album, out Tuesday (July 3).
"He's come back in and the dynamic once again is the fab five, all of us," Howie Dorough told MTV News. "The signature Backstreet Boys sound is there again."
Because they're making music under their own label, K-BAHN, the guys now have full creative control, allowing them to push the envelope while still staying true to their die-hard fans.
"We make music for music lovers first," Brian Littrell said. "Sometimes boy bands get pigeonholed into, 'oh the teenie bopper stuff,' but Backstreet Boys have always made music first for ourselves and for music lovers so hopefully that will continue."
And now that they've been at it for more than two decades, their fans have evolved too.
"It's not screaming teens anymore," Littrell explained. "It's more soccer moms."
Looking back at their timeline, the fivesome never thought music would take them as far as it has. While they always aspired to have lasting careers in the industry, they credit their longevity to hard work and commitment.
"There's a lot of new boy bands that are out now that, always, my advice to them is it's a marathon, not a sprint," Littrell said. "You have to communicate, you have to make great music and you have to be consistent, so for us, you know, 20 years later, I never dreamed we'd still be here, I think we had hoped and here we are. Backstreet's back ... again."
BSB's upcoming world tour kicks off this Friday in Chicago.