Thoughts: @AJ_McLean has gone country? Do WHAT?


If anybody knows me, they know that I have loved country music as long as I’ve loved boy bands – since I was really little. Throughout my high school years, until the Backstreet Boys brought me back to the pop-side of things, country music was my passion.

Sometimes I consider myself a country music historian because when most people were partying in high school, I was studying country music history with books from the library.

With Backstreet Boys finally finding success in country music (after I’ve told them YEARS ago to do something in country), it wasn’t a surprise to find out that one of them was doing a solo country project. Nick? Brian? Those would have been my first two choices if one had to do something country.

But bad boy AJ? Who the hell would have thought that! I sure didn’t!

Of course, Johnny No Name was originally from Nashville, Tennessee, AJ has always been more into the R&B style of things, mostly because his voice is just SO. DAMN. GOOD. AT. IT. So to be honest, I was hesitant at first, until I heard his music on the Backstreet Boys cruise in May and I was excited. I remember hearing “Night Visions” on the cruise and it was one of my favorites that he had played for us.

“Back Porch Bottle Service,” which catchy and fun in the terms of the whole bro-country thing that has been going on in country music the past few years, probably wasn’t the best choice to introduce him into country music. A lot of people in the industry are anti-bro country (why, I don’t know, because I like it!). So with a pop star boy band member coming into country music with the bro-country thing, some people might not have given him the chance. Plus, the song didn’t have a music video. Just like back in the day, music videos still play a big role in the music industry.

That’s where “Night Visions” comes in.

The song is straight up Alexander James McLean meaning that his voice was made for the song. It’s kind of a power ballad, but with a little roughness to it. It’s not bro-country, but it’s not a pop ballad. It’s like Backstreet Boys, but with more of a country twang. It has the country song structure to it. It has a storyline to it. And the music video, while I wish AJ’s character had let the baby mama go to jail and he raised the baby as a single father (COME ON! That storyline would have been AWESOME!), the music video has that same kind of storyline that draws the audience in.

 This is the kind of song that solo AJ has been trying to find for years. Remember that “Naked” album that he was supposed to release over two years ago? Don’t shoot me, but I’m glad he never released it. Maybe he will eventually, but I feel like if he had released it, he might not have been taken seriously with country music. The country industry is a tight-knit group and sometimes it’s hard to break into it, but I feel like this might just be the right time for AJ to do just that.

“Night Visions” is the type of song that someone like Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan would record. And while I love both of my Georgia boys, but AJ’s voice outranks them so much. He has the voice for this. He has that soulful voice like Garth Brooks or Vince Gill.

I just hope the country music community can recognize that. <3

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.