Crushin on Millennium in 1999

Here we are, the last week of Crushin on the ‘90s and this is the year that solidified this decade as the best for me. And if you are part of my generation, you can’t help but agree because, between the cascade of teen movies and the abundance of perfection on the charts, 1999 was that girl when it came to entertaining the youths. 1999 ate and left no crumbs, and while we’re definitely going to get more into it with Jon Reilly, the host of ‘Life’s But a Song’ and the co-host of ‘Movie Deja Vu,’ we’re here today to talk about what is arguably the best boy album that ever was and ever will be, ‘Millennium’ by none other than the group that shaped my heart, Backstreet Boys

Shocked? I’m sure. No, but really…if you’ve talked to me for a minimum of five minutes or have read at least a half dozen or so articles I’ve written here or elsewhere, this is not news. Backstreet Boys were my everything as a tween and into my teens, and remain one of the greatest love stories of my life, and while this album wasn’t the reason the obsession it’s the album that I can’t help but applaud for the rest of my life. 

Like the year it dropped, it left no crumbs. Plus, it was the first time all five members were stepping up to the mic for solos, so those Kevin and Howie fangirls were living. Aside from everyone getting their time to shine vocally, ‘Millennium’ also hit at just the right moment. It was Backstreet Boys’ first release since the world made them the sworn enemy of N’SYNC and it was flaming the fire of this 100% made-up battle between them – and flame it did because if there is one thing a fanatic is going to do, it’s go to war for their fandom. Backstreet Boys fans went out and made this record the first to sell over a million copies in a week. Yes, another boy band outdid them but would they if BSB hadn’t existed? Exactly…

Anyways, that may not sound impressive to some today who are more focused on a million streams…but think about it, that many people had to physically go out and purchase this album on Tuesday, May 18th, 1999. My mom was one of them because I would’ve died if that CD was not in my room when I got home from school. Overdramatic? Oh, 1000%. Worth it? Oh, 1000%. There was no way I could wake up on May 19th without that album. I was a Backstreet Girl. I had a reputation to uphold. 

As for the record, I was immediately in love. Granted that over time a few songs have been played significantly less, but in 1999 I knew that album better than I knew myself. I listened to it until it was ingrained into my core and to this day I could probably recognize any track off of it within milliseconds. I’m not unique in this talent though as I’m sure there are plenty of other 30-somethings with the same gift. I love that for us, really do. 

I also love that this record offered a healthy balance of ballads and uptempo songs. Ballads being what I feel BSB does best, I still melt whenever “Back to Your Heart” and (my absolute favorite) “No One Else Comes Close” come on. That’s not to say they can’t get down with the best of them. Songs like “The One” remains my favorite they do live, and others like “Don’t Want You Back” and “It’s Gotta Be You” never fail to get my party started. Then, of course, “I Want It That Way.” 

Pop producer extraordinaire Max Martin said, “Let’s record your lead single,” and they heard, “Let’s record the most iconic boy band song, ever.” Every artist has that one song they’re forever linked to and for them, it’s that one – and for good reason. It’s a perfectly crafted pop song in which all five have their moment in the spotlight, the intro is instantly recognizable, and honestly…it makes no sense. I think that last fact is what has made it timeless. You could play it at any time, anywhere in the world, and just vibe. 

Backstreet Boys had one more huge record after this one, but that’s not to say they went away and left fans high and dry, forever dreaming of a reunion tour *cough* N’SYNC *cough. They remained intact (for the most part), kept touring, released half a dozen albums, and even executed one of the most popular residencies in Las Vegas in recent years. All of that said, I don’t think any of it would’ve been possible had the pieces not fallen into place with ‘Millennium.’


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