Who stole the Great Hope diamond? What killed the dinosaurs? What the fuck do the lyrics to the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’ actually mean?
All great mysteries of the human race, and today we have solved one, just for you.
‘I Want it That Way’ was the lead single off “Millennium,” the best selling album of 1999, with 9.5 million copies sold. It left many of us wondering: what do these contradictory mess of lyrics mean? (I say, ‘us,’ but I’m going to be honest I totally thought the lyrics made perfect sense BUT I WAS SIX, OKAY. Who was I to question BSB’s authority?).
There has been a long standing internet rumor that the lyrics are so mysterious (read: nonsensical), is because the songwriter of the smash hit, Max Martin, was Swedish and didn’t speak any English at the time, thus the nonsense. It turns out, just this one time, the crazy internet rumor is right! But did you know there’s another “fixed” version of the song out there? Nick Carter told the following to Huffington Post:
“Well it’s funny, we actually were OK with the lyrics when we heard it first. And then the president of JIVE records at that time ― I mean he’s a genius ― but he and some of the A&R people wanted to change the lyrics. We hired some really well known producers at the time to redo the song. So, there was another version of the song out there and then we listened to it back. Then, we as a group voted on it and said, ‘No.'”
Probably because they had TASTE.
Kevin Richardson pointed out that the confusing nature of the lyrics is overblown, saying, “I talk with fans that the song makes perfect sense to them, because everyone interprets lyrics differently and every song moves people differently.”
HA! Six-year-old me is vindicated. Feel free to check out the alternate version of the song here:
via Huffington Post