15 Nonsense Lyrics of the Boy Band Era
Let’s face it: No one listening to teen pop on purpose in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s was listening too closely to the lyrics. It’s a good thing, too, because between songwriters who weren’t native English speakers, the tyranny of rhyme and meter, and the finite nature of words that rhyme with “girl” and “baby,” it would take a room full of history’s greatest philosophers to figure out what the hell they’re trying to say.
“I Want It That Way”
“You are my fire, the one desire/Believe when I say, I want it that way/But we are two worlds apart, can't reach to your heart/When you say that I want it that way”
The Backstreet Boys never tell us exactly what way they want it or what way they don’t … want … you to want it. No explanation makes sense from both perspectives.
“I Wanna Sex You Up”
“We can do it ‘til we both wake up”
If you wake up in the middle of sex, a crime has been committed.
“As Long As You Love Me”
“Doesn’t really matter if you’re on the run”
The Boys spend much of the song dismissing a lot of things in your background which could be totally harmless -- who you are, where you’re from, what you did, etc. -- but this is pretty clear. The Backstreet Boys have hooked up with a fugitive, and that should matter to them a lot.
“Bye Bye Bye”
“I’m doing this tonight/You’re probably gonna start a fight”
It really seems like NSYNC are the ones doing the confronting here.
“Oops! I Did It Again”
“You see my problem is this/I'm dreaming away/Wishing that heroes, they truly exist”
How can playing with your heart and getting lost in the game be a side effect of daydreaming? Is she doing all this while she’s daydreaming? Is this just a woman with a severe dissociative disorder?
“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”
“Sometimes I wish I could turn back time/Impossible as it may seem”
The word “seem” makes it, you know, seem like it is possible. Get to time-turning, boys.
“I’m a Slave 4 U”
“What’s practical is logical/What the hell? Who cares?”
“Bye Bye Bye” Again
“I don’t want to be the reason for your love no more”
“We’ve Got It Goin’ On”
“Keep it ruthless when I get wet”
“Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”
“Life goes on as it never ends/Eyes of stone observe the trends”
You know what? Fine.
“Shape of My Heart”
“Sadness is beautiful/Loneliness, that's tragical”
You might think they had to do that for the rhyme, but no, the next line ends with “oh, no.” It’s a slant rhyme at best.
“I Want You Back”
“It’s hard to make the things I did undone”
They clearly did need to do this for the meter, but there’s a word for making the things you did undone. It’s “undo.”
“The thing you got to realize, what we doing is not a trend/We got the gift of melody, we gonna bring it 'til the end”
This is just funny because they immediately broke up.
“...Baby One More Time”
“Oh baby, baby, how was I supposed to know/That something wasn't right here/Oh baby, baby, I shouldn't have let you go”
It feels like the fact that she broke up with him should have been Britney’s first clue that something wasn’t, in fact, right here.
“...Baby One More Time” Bonus
“Hit me, baby, one more time”
This one actually does have a good explanation: Swedish songwriter Max Martin thought “hit” was American slang for “call,” as in “hit me up.” As it stands, it makes Britney sound like she’s got a gambling problem.
Top image: Jive Records/YouTube