Twenty years after it formed, the world’s bestselling boy band isn’t through. The Backstreet Boys are releasing their new album, In a World Like This, today, and they’re using their international platform to spread a positive message.
During a recent fan event in Berlin, band members revealed that the dreamy ballad "Madeline," an acoustic track on the new album, was inspired by fans who had committed suicide after being bullied.
“I had been hearing a lot about all the gay teen suicides happening back in California and all across the world and all the bullying that was happening in schools and bullying online,” band member A.J. McLean said. “There were actually two Backstreet Boys fans that were bullied so much on Twitter that they took their own lives. To hear about all this negative, negative, negative really just upset me.”
The Backstreet Boys hope to encourage their fans to be themselves, and not be discouraged by bullying. Their message comes at an essential time. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that teen suicide rates have climbed in recent years, and that as many as one in 12 American teens attempt to commit suicide.
According to the study, 20% of high school students reported they'd been bullied while at school, and 16% said they'd been "cyberbullied" through email, chat, instant messaging, social media, or texting.
The band worked with London producer Martin Terefe to record their new album. Beatles-sounding anti-bullying ballad “Madeleine” was one of the 20 or so songs that came out of their writing sessions, and one of 15 demos that the band recorded. It encourages listeners to "rise up," and lets them know that "help is on the way."
As reviewer Karah-Leigh Hancock recently wrote, the Backstreet Boys, "always seem to have a song that touches people and this is no exception.”
“It’s a song about hope, just believing in yourself, not listening to what anyone else says. Love yourself,” McLean said.