Ah, Nick Carter. I’m not going to lie, I for sure had the biggest crush on him when I was in elementary school. Perhaps most famous for being a part of the boyband, the Backstreet Boys, Carter has managed to make a name for himself as a solo artist. As a part of the Backstreet Boys, Carter contributed to the best-selling boyband in history, selling over 130 million records and earning numerous awards. Following this success, Carter has released two solo albums, a duet album with Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block, and even a stint on Dancing With the Stars, earning 2nd place. Now he is back with an all-new album titled, All American. To celebrate the release of his new album, Carter will be in Canada for shows in Montreal (March 16th) and Toronto (March 17th).
Playing off the image that was cultivated during his Backstreet Boys days, Carter clings to his youth and portrays himself as an all-American boy-next-door. Single, “19 in 99,” is the ultimate representation of such imagery. Carter reminisces about the 90s, referencing Nirvana, old-school Reeboks (they’re in again!), and Segas, and expresses the desire to be free from responsibilities and live wildly as he did in his youth.
“Get Over Me” features iconic Canadian star, Avril Lavigne. Similar to “19 in 99,” the song is a bit juvenile, as it discusses typical high-school romantic drama. It’s still a fun song, however, as Carter and Lavigne sing their individual verses, coming together in the chorus. Their voices are well-suited for each other, with Lavigne’s adding some punk-rock edge to Carter’s pop.
Unfortunately, All American is unable to keep up the energy and memorableness of the first two tracks off the album; “California” and “Second Wind” are kind of snoozes, and though they are thematically similar to “19 in 99” and “Get Over Me,” the teenage immaturity that is conveyed is jarring, and honestly, a little uncomfortable, coming from a man in his mid-thirties. The debauchery described in several of the other tracks makes it clear that Carter has firmly found his niche in boppy-poppy, lyrically-simple music, pining for his youth. I’m not saying that this is completely negative; on the contrary, Carter has created some fun songs that can chart on any top 40 station.The titular track from the album is a perfect example of this. It reminds me of 5 Seconds of Summer or the Jonas Brothers, fun and upbeat, but just slightly weird because Carter is singing about a girl’s butt, even though he’s almost forty. I just wish that I could have seen more growth and development from an artist who has been in the industry for decades.
Overall, Carter’s latest album is just…meh. There are some fun tracks, some boring ones, but all are completely stuck in the mind of a teenage boy. This album is one that you’d want in the background of your first party with alcohol, playing just loud enough so that you can’t hear what the lyrics are saying, but quiet enough to drunkenly bop along to the generic pop beat.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Must-Listen Tracks: “19 in 99,” “Get Over Me,” “All American”