It makes sense that Backstreet Boys crooner Nick Carter is releasing his debut solo album Now or Never the week of Halloween. Some Backstreet fans will likely think of it as a delicious treat, while others might view it more as a fiendish trick.

On the album, which comes out October 29, Carter leaves behind the glossy harmonies and grandiose production of Backstreet Boys and heads in a more '80s pop-rock direction that will thrill some and alienate others.

Now or Never features 12 songs pared down from 37 written for the disc (see "Backstreet's Nick Carter Ready To Go Solo Now" ). Songwriters include Carter, the Matrix, Mark Taylor, Steve Mac, Max Martin and Rami and producers include Martin and Matthew Gerrard. The first single, "Help Me," written by Gerrard and Michele Vice-Maslin and produced by Gerrard, is already receiving airplay. A video for the track was directed by Chris Applebaum.

The tracks on Now or Never include both infectious uptempo guitar-bristling cuts like "My Confession" and "I Stand for You" and slick, flowery ballads including "Do I Have to Cry for You?" and "I Just Wanna Take You Home."

"Girls in the USA," a rompin' number with funky wah-wah-laden guitars, a slammin' Kid Rock beat and soaring Bon Jovi-style vocals, features dancehall reggae artist Mr. Vegas (see "Nick Carter Has Plenty Of Songs, Few Guests For Solo Album"). It's the only tune with a guest vocalist, yet many of the songs on Now or Never are reminiscent of other artists that inspired Carter. "Is It Saturday Yet?" sounds like Bryan Adams, "Blow Your Mind" begins like New Order's "Blue Monday" before bursting into a euphoric pop chorus, and "I Stand for You" sounds like a cross between Third Eye Blind and Hanson.

Track list for Now or Never, according to Jive Records:

  • "Help Me"
  • "My Confession"
  • "I Stand for You"
  • "Do I Have to Cry for You?"
  • "Girls in the USA"
  • "I Got You"
  • "Is It Saturday Yet?"
  • "Blow Your Mind"
  • "Miss America"
  • "I Just Wanna Take You Home"
  • "Heart Without a Home (I'll Be Yours)"
  • "Who Needs the World"