Backstreet Boys, ‘In A World Like This’

(Tyler Shields)

On its latest release, “In a World Like This,” the vocal quintet Backstreet Boys continues to do what it has always done. (And it is indeed again a quintet with the return of Kevin Richardson.)

That means plenty of polished, tuneful-enough, mid-tempo adult contemporary pop songs featuring exclamations to both girls and the world about the glorious power of love. Whether it’s literally providing oxygen like some kind of romantic scuba mask on “Breathe” or helping get the party started on Euro-disco throbbers like “Permanent Stain,” it is taking care of business.

There are a couple of detours, including the Mraz-y “Trust Me,” the crisp Babyface-style acoustic soul of “Try,” and even a countrified, Kracker-esque travelogue in “Feels Like Home.”


Although it’s hard to imagine the group rocketing back up the charts, in a different world — or time — the breezy Max Martin-penned title track could be ubiquitous. (And if it were attached to boy band du jour One Direction, it probably would be.)

The fivesome remains genial, accessible, and happy in lush harmony — although it still rankles that a group that presumably is famous for its vocal blend employs audible Auto-tune. (Out Tuesday) SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “In A World Like This”

The Backstreet Boys play the Bank of America Pavilion on Aug. 12.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at