The Story: From the moment a talkbox riff opens up "Larger Than Life," the Backstreet Boys make clear that you are in for an iconic listening experience. Millennium was the peak of not only BSB's mainstream appeal, but their commercial success as well -- the album went 13x Platinum, was nominated for album of the year and best pop album at the Grammys, and is still included in lists of the best-selling albums of all time.
The Classic: It's "Spanish Eyes," obviously! Just kidding — no song in the Backstreet Boys' extensive discography has the kind of pure, gargantuan, mega-monster hit power that "I Want It That Way" possesses. Beyond its many accolades, "I Want It That Way" has gone on to become one of the most well-known boy band songs of all time, breaking through every boundary placed around pop music and becoming one of the most iconic songs of the 1990s.
The Deep Cut: Before there was *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye," there was the Backstreet Boys' "Don't Want You Back." The moody breakup track is a fun switch-up -- after hearing Nick, AJ, Brian, Kevin and Howie sing about fame, heartbreak and sexual drive, it's fun to hear the boys get angry -- while the constantly shifting beat and grimy melody give the song a certain edge that the album otherwise lacks. -- S.D.
6. Hanson, Middle of Nowhere (1997)
The Story: Less a boy band than a band made up of actual boys, the Tulsa-bred trio -- brothers Zac, Taylor and Isaac Hanson -- were 12, 14 and 17, respectively, when they sent a million adolescent hearts aflutter (and earned a trio of Grammy nominations) with their irresistible 1997 pop-rock debut LP, Middle Of Nowhere.
The Classic: "MMMBop," obviously. Written by the three Hansons and co-produced by The Dust Brothers -- then best known for their work with the Beastie Boys and Beck -- the song's lyrics about the ephemeral nature of time were embedded into an effervescent melody that landed the track at both No.1 on the Hot 100 and in the top spot on the 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
The Deep Cut: Album-closer "Man From Milwaukee" matched lyrics reflecting the goofball nature of youth with adult musical chops and an anthemic chorus -- one that all of us who were teens and tweens in the late '90s still know every word to. -- KATIE BAIN
5. 112, 112 (1997)