Backstreet Boys back with new album

'This is Us,' group's ninth LP out in stores Oct. 6

Backstreet Boys announced today that it will release its ninth album, "This is Us," Oct. 6 on Jive Records. The lead single, "Straight Through My Heart," has just been released to radio and can be heard on the group's MySpace page.

The 11-track set follows the Backstreet Boys' platinum-certified 2005 reunion album "Never Gone" and 2007's "Unbreakable," which sold 1.7 million copies worldwide but less than 150,000 in the U.S.

Group members Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and AJ McLean contributed to the writing and producing of "This is Us," joined by original Backstreet Boys hitmaker Max Martin, T-Pain, RedOne, Soulshock & Karlin, Jim Jonsin and Claude Kelly. Other announced track titles include "Bigger," "Bye Bye Love" and "She's a Dream."

"We always try to set the bar as high as possible," Dorough tells "We've always been a pop/R&B group. We focus our songs around good melodies and group harmonies, and hopefully that will have a lot of staying power."

Backstreet Boys have sold more than 76 million albums worldwide in the 12-plus years since they debuted. And while the pop quartet is no longer the multi-platinum concern it was in the late '90s and early '00s, Dorough says he and his groupmates remain confident with their place in the pop landscape.

"I think every artist who wants to be around for a long time and have staying power has to go through that transition," he says. "Some records are going to be bigger than others. You're always going to be compared to your biggest record. All you can do as an artist is just strive to make the best record you can and ride the rollercoaster as it goes up and down.

"I think, overall, we're gonna be a group that's here for a long time. As long as people want us and our fans want us, then hopefully we can ride the wave -- like I say, the rollercoaster -- up and down and be standing at the very end."

Producer Jim Jonsin, who produced five of the 11 tracks that will appear on "This Is Us," tells that recording with the group was "an awesome experience...The album is solid, and the guys are trying to make incredible songs," says Jonsin. "They actually mentioned that it felt like they were recording their first abum. I believe this album is gonna be huge for the guys. They worked really hard on keeping their sound but wanted to step it up a notch."

Backstreet Boys launch a world tour on Sept. 27 in Singapore, then go to Europe from Oct. 30-Dec. 6. North American dates for 2010 are expected to be announced soon.

Gary Graff reported from Detroit. Monica Herrera reported from New York.