Side Note

It’s time for the Backstreet Boys to change their name

Today, the Backstreet Boys released “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” the lead single from their upcoming ninth studio album. Like previous singles “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” and “Shape of My Heart,” which also had “heart” in their title, it’s not bad. It’s hard to imagine it burning up the charts, given that this is 2018 and the group now presents wholly as a nostalgia act, but it’s well-made and they’re clearly trying hard, as shown in the video.

However, a more pressing concern: The Backstreet Boys are no longer boys. AJ McLean is 40; Howie D. is 44; Nick Carter is 38; Kevin Richardson is 46; Brian Littrell is 43. Five years ago, when their last album was released, Carter could at least lay claim to his “early 30s,” an age many men use as an excuse to behave like children, but there’s no chance of that at 38. As with acts like Sonic Youth (the band was in its 50s when they broke up) or any rapper over the age of 20 with “Lil” in his name, their name is false advertising.

Furthermore: Having sold millions of records and toured around the world, can the Backstreet Boys lay any credible claim to the backstreet? The backstreet is the home of edgy, rowdy, up-and-coming boys, not global celebrities who’ve found happiness. There’s no way any of the so-called “boys” have visited a backstreet in years.

Obviously, a name change is in order, and there’s only one possible suggestion: The Mainstreet Men, a name befitting their career success (as the main street is where all the stars are found) and their age. This will hurt their SEO returns in the short run, but in the long run will make more sense for the inevitable Las Vegas residency. I’ll accept a modest finder’s fee at