Backstreet Boy Goes Country! AJ Mclean Releases New Solo Country Single
IBexclusive News Sunday October 28, 2018.
By: Jeanette Williamson
(IBEXNews) - Backstreet Boys star, AJ McLean, dropped a brand new single; Night Visions, for his up-coming Country Album earlier this week. Debuting the track to radio first on October 25th with Las Vegas’s country station 95.5 The Bull then an almost 6 minute long music video premiering on CMT the following day.
The singer, who’s been a prominent member of the Backstreet Boys for the past 25 years, announced earlier this year about his foray into the Country Genre, stating that he wanted to come in and “Disrupt Country Music” with his pop/urban style and vibe. McLean told Entertainment Tonight, this past April, that he caught the country bug after he and the Backstreet Boys worked with Florida Georgia Line for the 2017 collaboration, “God, Your Momma and Me”.
“Doing that song with [Florida Georgia Line] and then doing Crossroads and The Smooth Tour [and] being submerged in the whole Nashville scene [was] just so inspiring to me,” he said. “Out of all genres, country is probably now one of my favorites. It's all about telling a story [and] every song is so relatable to anyone, but my goal is a little different.”
“I want to come in and I want to disrupt country,” he explained. “I want to shake things up just like Florida Georgia Line did [by] bringing that pop/urban aspect to it. Soulful, kind of [like] that Chris Stapleton/Sam Hunt vibe, but with my voice. So, you guys are definitely in for a surprise.”
In June of 2018, McLean previously dropped another Country Single, “Back Porch Bottle Service”; which technically would be considered his first Country Single, he has since called Night Visions his first official single. There was no music video for the upbeat track, but McLean and his team did release an “official Lyric video”. Back Porch Bottle Service had a very catchy hook and the lyrics spoke of him enjoying some private (but not alone) time on his back porch while enjoying a cold drink on a hot night. While initially the song did well on the Country charts, the reviews and critiques of the track were… mixed, to the say the least. The brief success of Back Porch Bottle Service did help propel AJ McLean to take on a flurry of promotion and appearances in support of his upcoming and still yet untitled Country Debut. One thing was for sure though, Night Visions, which he performed during his Country sets became a HUGE fan favorite; he even premiered the track on the last Backstreet Boys Cruise. Multiple live clips were recorded and shared all over social media, with fan exclamations of how beautiful the song was, how amazing he sounded and with demands for a full studio version to be released. Later, McLean stated that he was ecstatic about the fan reaction and when he announced it would be released as his next single thousands of fan hearts exploded into happiness.
Night Visions is a sultry love song that McLean’s trademark raspy voice melts beautifully amidst the harmonies and lyrics of a love that has been lost. He sings that during the day he’s perfectly fine but then the sun goes down and that’s when he starts to see his lost love in the shadows, he fantasizes about her and him together, reliving memories when its hardest to not think about them. Its definitely a song about about love and losing the person who you love most in the world. The steamy love song is currently available where all digital music is sold; at press time, it currently sits at #31 on the Itunes US Country Charts and at #150 on the All Genres Itunes US charts. The reviews for Night Visions, however, have been overwhelmingly positive. This is definitely where the Backstreet Boy Crooner’s voice shines; but this isn’t McLean’s first attempt at a Solo career.
In 2010, “Have it all” was released under the label AVEX GROUP and was seen only in Japan. It’s a pity too, “Have it all”, was a more personal look into McLean’s heart and mind where he penned most of the tracks himself. You can still find a copy of the album on Amazon, if you’re willing to pay the import taxes. Have it all did go on to have some commercial success and did take him out on the road for a supporting tour.
The next Solo attempt was in 2015, where McLean had been working (and still does work with) famed Music producer Jordan Omley of The Jam Music. Live Together was the first track that had been released from an album that had been teased as being titled “The Anthem” that was set to be released the same year. While that album didn’t see the light of day, again, sadly; the song was a great segue into the Live Together Foundation, that was started and backed by both Omley and McLean. The song, which is in current rotation on my own personal Itunes, is an alt-rock anthem that also includes a cameo by Country star Coffey Anderson both on the track and in the music video.
AJ McLean has teased and dropped tracks that he has worked on as a solo artist on and off the last few years. This time with Night Visions it definitely feels like this could be the single that helps him break the mold and cross the genre lines that have been drawn in the metaphorical sand. You can feel the emotion behind his voice and you can see it in his face that he was drawing on some experience during the filming of the video.
The Night Visions music video was also another first for McLean, he was able to throw in some acting chops as well as try his hand at directing. It was shot in one very long day with Rene Elizondo at the helm both producing and co-directing with McLean. Making a cameo in this video is Paul Abrahamian from Big Brother and playing Mclean’s on screen daughter is, Ava McLean, his real life oldest daughter. The video has the interesting feel of playing out like a movie, complete with flashbacks to the past and cutting back to the present, it’s a dark theme with a twist at the end.
McLean is very talented, always has been; if he wasn’t he wouldn’t still be in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. Night Visions is a clear indicator of his ability to transcend genre lines, grow from experience and mature into an artist that he truly is proud to be. Give it a listen and see for yourself, it’s very different from the sound that you’re probably familiar with.
The Backstreet Boys are currently on a the last run of their Las Vegas residency for 2018, picking it up again in February, March and April of 2019; after the band releases it’s 10th studio album in 25 years. The new album currently expected to drop in January. Expect to be hearing more from not just AJ McLean but the band as a whole. The bands latest single, “Don’t go breaking my heart” was the first time in a decade a Backstreet Boys song cracked the top 10 for top 40 radio.
After the release of their album they’re taking the show on the road, planning to do a full world tour, starting in Europe; where their careers first began.