Review - Millennium

Artist: Backstreet Boys

With every cultural phenomenon comes an equal and opposite notion of self-importance. In the case of Orlando's own Backstreet Boys, the use of historical framing with the Y2K century-turning revelation should therefore come as no surprise. A look inside the CD's ominous packaging reveals much more than its title ever could; "Millennium" finds the Backstreet Boys waxing both fey and venomous to extremes their debut could never even have imagined.

"Larger Than Life" kicks the album into its sophomore fit, with a tell-all jab back at stardom and, presumably, the management from which the boys were recently freed. First single, "I Want It That Way," is squeaky-clean, Take That blow-poppery. But no track compares to the album closer, "The Perfect Fan" (penned by Brian and sung by a chorus of hundreds). It's an achingly self-aware ballad for the ideal enthusiast: mother. From "Millennium" we find out more about what makes (or made) the Backstreet Boys tick, and less about whether or not any of it even matters. For all its titled profundity, "Millennium" is awkwardly harmless.

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