Backstreet Boys' CD Derailed

Recording future in doubt for pop superstars

The Backstreet Boys insist they aren't splitting, but still can't say when they'll follow up 2000's Black and Blue. In a new statement, the Boys announced their decision to defer work on a new album, citing diverging personal priorities. "Individually we are currently at different places in our lives," the statement reads, "and our hearts and minds are focused in other areas. When the timing is right, we'll record another Backstreet Boys album."

Delays and frustration have marked the band's effort to record a fourth album. They were initially scheduled to deliver the set to Jive in April 2002. After that didn't happen, the band sued Jive parent company Zomba for $75 million, alleging the label invoked contractual loopholes to stymie their efforts to successfully complete the set.

The Boys' contract requires that all five members contribute to the making of each Backstreet Boys album and that the label approve all songs and producers before material for an "album" can be submitted. They claim that Jive refused to participate in that decision-making process and prevented Nick Carter from working on the BSB record by demanding that his solo set, Now or Never, take precedence.

At the time of the November lawsuit, the band said they were writing material together for a new album and would support it on a summer world tour, neither of which seem likely now.

Though it was certified eight times platinum (8 million copies shipped), Black and Blue was not the sales phenomena that its predecessors were. The Backstreet Boys' 1996 self-titled debut is fourteen times platinum, and 1999's Millennium is thirteen times platinum.

Representatives from Jive, the Backstreet Boys' label, were not available for comment at press time.