The Backstreet Boys were the epitome of boy band greatness in the late 90s, yet their longevity in the industry, thanks to a loyal fan base, is proving there is still a place for them as a man band.
But there's one thing from their past that refuses to fade into distant memory. Their smash pop-ballad, "I Want It That Way" still has fans scratching their heads over the meaning of the lyrics, a puzzle left unresolved and glossed over because the Backstreet Boys are just that awesome, okay?
Leave it to Chrissy Teigen, however, to ask the five members of the band what the heck they were singing about back in 1999.
The final lines from the chorus reiterate a demand. But for what?
I never wanna hear you say
I want it that way
'Cause I want it that way
The lyrics from the hit single off their third album "Millennium" befuddled many listeners. Were the boys yearning for a specific kind of love? Was it a break up song? Or was Burger King expected to get their order right every time the group dropped in for a quick bite in between concert gigs?
Internet socialite Chrissy Teigen tweeted the boys demanding answers. She wasn't playing around.
“I never wanna hear you say, ‘I want it that way’ cause i want it that way”. He doesn’t wanna hear it because he is… https://t.co/x0SjDg8g9p— christine teigen (@christine teigen)1527872034.0
And when Teigen tweeted, the boys listened.
@chrissyteigen Don’t wanna hear you say that you want heartaches and mistakes... or to be 2 worlds apart. We don’t… https://t.co/UOdMeX6yth— backstreetboys (@backstreetboys)1527900528.0
To clarify, the boys explained that they mutually wish for a relationship devoid of heartache, mistakes, and the woes that accompany long distance. They don't want that.
Content with the response, Teigen summed it up for her followers.
It seems they both want it the same way but are fighting over who gets to say they want it that way https://t.co/kd94CBVjlP— christine teigen (@christine teigen)1527873860.0
@chrissyteigen This hurts my head.— Kyler Petersen (@Kyler Petersen)1527876946.0
The Huffington Post pressed band members Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and A.J. McLean about the song's meaning in a December 2016 interview. According to Carter, the original lyrics were not the same ones we sway to:
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.
The label wanted the song to make more sense, but their intentions may have backfired.
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."
Aww, quit playing games with our hearts, boys.
For others who got it, thanks to Teigen's effort, they were relieved for the world to move on.
@TNCoverGirl @backstreetboys @chrissyteigen What kind of voodoo magic does she have that she got the answer?!— Rose (@Rose)1527902716.0
Yeah, this is the gist of it.
@chrissyteigen So, they’re married.— Kelly McCarry (@Kelly McCarry)1527874323.0
@IamEveryDayPpl @chrissyteigen https://t.co/gn60DScAGC— LittleMissNeat (@LittleMissNeat)1527872354.0