Never Gone

Studio Album by released in 2005
Never Gone's tracklist:
Incomplete
Just Want You to Know
Crawling Back to You
Weird World
I Still...
Poster Girl
Lose It All
Climbing the Walls
My Beautiful Woman
Safest Place to Hide
Siberia
Never Gone
Song for the Unloved
Rush Over Me
Movin' On

Never Gone review

In recent years, the Backstreet Boys have grabbed more headlines for arrests and rehab visits than topping the charts and making teenage girls scream. With their new comeback album Never Gone, the first since 2000's Black & Blue, the guys seem eager to leave the prepubescents behind for good. Aiming for an edgier sound and deeper lyrical terrain (a couple of songs are about dead family members and friends), Never Gone mostly sounds like a band going through growing pains of its own. It shows the Backstreet Boys working well with their peers. Look for Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik; Savage Garden's Darren Hayes; very talented Max Martin; Billy Mann (who worked with both Pink and Sting) and last but not least the band works with John Shanks, winner of a Grammy award for producer of the year for his work with Sheryl Crow, Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff and Ashlee Simpson.

Never Gone kicks off with the underrated and underplayed first single, Incomplete. It is an emotional and passionate ballad, which is a strong way to start off the album. A beautiful arrangement of weeping strings emphasizes Nick Carter's desperate pleas. The ballad Crawling Back to You is just as urgent. Just Want You to Know reunites the Boys with songwriter Max Martin, who penned the previous Backstreet Boys hits Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), As Long as You Love Me, and Everybody (Backstreet's Back). The staccato instruments on this track give way to a power chorus that will surely lend itself to screaming girls in arenas and amphitheaters. The uplifting Weird World was written by Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik and laced with bouncy piano. The somber Safest Place to Hide belies the break-up theme of the album, and instead relies on thoughts of a positive relationship. Carter's gritty vocals recall Bryan Adams, a move that likely will appeal to older listeners. Of course, there are also catchy dance songs like My Beautiful Woman and Poster Girl, but there are also some very dark tunes that some wouldn't expect from a pop boy band. Lose it All, Climbing the Walls, and Siberia have heart-wrenching poetry in them and are hauntingly perfect. Backstreet Boys band member Kevin Richardson co-wrote the album's title track Never Gone to commemorate his father. The band has ability to reach out to their audience using common emotional experiences with beautiful musical arrangements and creative lyrics to produce songs that are instantly memorable and long lasting.

You never know what to expect when artists "come back" from a hiatus of any length of time. But the Backstreet Boys show us all with this CD that they are not too old to create good quality songs. This highly anticipated new album is a greatly matured effort. Having experienced so much alone, they come back together now, stronger and wiser, traits that are most definitely characteristic to the music of Never Gone. After five years away from the music business, the Backstreet Boys have returned with an album that eschews their previous bouncy, teen-pop personality. It may alienate fans who blared songs like Everybody (Backstreet's Back) on their bedroom jam boxes, but the more mature effort could very well expand their fan base.

(22.06.2005)
Rate review3.52
Total votes - 225


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