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Backstreet Boys – Millennium 20th Anniversary vinyl picture disc review

The group’s biggest-selling album is available on vinyl for the first time.

Backstreet Boys - Millennium
Credit: Sony Music

Backstreet Boys launched onto the pop world in 1996 and their self-titled debut album sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. The five-piece – AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, Howie D, Kevin Richardson and Nick Carter – followed that up in 1997 with Backstreet’s Back, which built on their success but it was 1999 release Millennium that established them as the biggest boyband in the world. That album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide turning them into a worldwide phenomenon. This year marks the album’s 20th anniversary and to celebrate Sony Music have released a picture disc vinyl.

This is the first time Millennium has ever been available on vinyl and the release features the album artwork printed on the front and back. Millennium houses some of Backstreet Boys’ biggest hits including Larger Than Life, I Want It That Way, Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely and The One. All of those songs were Top 10 hits here in the UK and in the US I Want It That Way and Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely were Top 6 smashes.

With half of the album produced by Max Martin, who had worked with the band since their debut, the sound of Millennium is very similar to other 90s acts at the time that worked with Martin such as Britney Spears and N’Sync. Many of these songs were designed as bombastic pop numbers, with an eye set firmly on chart success and the formula worked. I Want It That Way is perhaps the band’s signature song now and certainly one of their biggest hits worldwide.

Some of the album tracks are filler here such as Back To Your Heart and Spanish Eyes. They are perfectly serviceable songs but they get lost among Martin’s contributions to the album and don’t have the punch that the band’s big ballads have. To be honest that doesn’t hamper the enjoyment of the album as all five members of the group are gifted vocalists. Their harmonies are killer whatever they sing so that elevates the lesser material.

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This new vinyl edition gives remarkably good quality sound for a picture disc. We all know that picture discs can be a little hit and miss when it comes to the quality of the actual music pressing but I couldn’t find anything to fault with Millennium. It’s nice to hear these epic pop songs on the best music format and they sounded crystal clear to my ear; warmer than the compression you have to accept with CD and digital versions. It should be noted that there’s an insert with a code that gives you a digital download of the album too.

Millennium is a classic pop album. It may not be the Backstreet Boys’ most consistent album, and it’s not my personal favourite, but there’s no denying this album captured a moment in the pop zeitgeist. Long-time fans will be delighted with this excellent vinyl edition and those who loved the album back in the day, will enjoy listening to it on a different format. Come for the hits and stay for those killer harmonies.

Track listing: 1. Larger Than Life 2. I Want It That Way 3. Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely 4. It’s Gotta Be You 5. I Need You Tonight 6. Don’t Want You Back 7. Don’t Wanna Lose You Now 8. The One 9. Back To Your Heart 10. Spanish Eyes 11. No One Else Comes Close 12. The Perfect Fan Record label: Sony Music Release date: 16th August 2019 Buy Millennium

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