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BR recovers after ‘Aaron’s Party’

Aaron Carter first hit the Top 100 when he was just 13 years old – a child star riding the boy band wave that featured his older brother Nick (I believe he was in a little band known as the Backstreet Boys.) Carter is best known for his late ’90s, and early 2000s hits “Aaron’s Party,” “I Want Candy” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq.”

Now 28, Carter has focused the last few years learning how to produce and write his own music. It’s been a decade since his last album release, and Carter is taking his music on tour with the intent on making a big comeback.

Many excited Carter fans crowded into the Roux House last weekend, nostalgically thinking about how excited their pre-teen selves would’ve been to get the chance to see the former teenage pop star perform.

“If I wasn’t famous, you still want me the same?” Carter sang from the stage during his song “Looking for a Girlfriend.”

The better question for Carter would be, if he wasn’t so famous, would his new music be taken more seriously?

Because it should be. In a 13-song, 45-minute performance Carter performed music that, except perhaps for production quality, was every bit as good as his fellow ‘tween idol, Justin Bieber.

The songs – nearly all of them new from his announced forthcoming project “Fools Gold” – fell into the range of music that could compete with the Biebs. The slow-groove numbers such as “I Got Her” and “This Time,” sound close to Bieber’s music from his “Purpose” album, and “Can’t Take My Love,” resembles Bieber’s mentor Usher.

While those artists sell platinum records and play large arenas, Carter’s new tour has him singing backed by a DJ and recorded tracks and drawing perhaps 75 people. But Carter still performed well. He danced and constantly moved; not great choreography, but fun. He had the crowd – still almost exclusively female, as it was back in the day – sing, pointed and smiled at them, cupped his ear for response and played with them.

His singing was good, though enhanced by the tracks, and he displayed a good falsetto. The set list later expanded into the very good Caribbean-lilting “Bittersweet” and the even-better, more poppy, R&B-grooving “If I Had Time.”

And the acoustic-guitar-tracked “Can’t Take Another Heartbreak” was among the best of the night.

However, it likely was disappointing to some that Carter didn’t sing any of his ‘tween hits such as “I Want Candy,” or “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” Clearly the crowd would have liked that.

When he introduced “No Diggity,” Carter said, “So I’m gonna bring you guys back to the ’90s.” But when the crowd responded with screams, he said, “Don’t get ahead of yourselves, because it’s not what you expect. This is all you get from the ’90s.” Instead, Carter closed with two of his best: the title track from “Fool’s Gold” and “Sooner or Later,” a sensitive ballad. “I’ve been doing everything myself,” Carter told the crowd. “I make my own beats.”

Carter may face a steep climb to the top again, but based on his new music alone, he’s not that far away.

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