All of us have heard the song, and yet who among us can TRULY claim to understand the lyrics to the Backstreet Boys' song "I Want It That Way?!"
The popular Backstreet Boys' song makes it explicitly clear that the female subject is "my fire" and "my one desire."
But then matters start getting a bit hazy when the boy band croons:
"But we are two worlds apart Can't reach to your heart
When you say / I want it that way."
When she says, she wants it WHAT way?!
The confusion grows even more after the band sings again about the woman being "my fire" and "one desire" before returning to a lamentation about heartache and her wanting a mysterious "it" that way.
The confused meanings of "it" and "that" climax with the very last few lines of the song:
"Ain't nothin' but a heartache
Ain't nothin' but a mistake
Tell me why
I never want to hear you say
(Never want to hear you say it)
I want it that way
'Cause I want it that way"
This question has been asked across the world since the song made waves in 1999, but it took the Twitter legend Chrissy Teigen to get to the bottom of it.
"'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 the one that wants it that way? He wants to be the one to say it? Also what is “it”?'", Teigen asked in a tweet.
Much to the entire internet's surprise, the official Backstreet Boys Twitter account chimed in with a clarification of the lyrics.
"Don’t wanna hear you say that you want heartaches and mistakes... or to be 2 worlds apart. We don’t want you to want “it” that way - that’s the way we want it... for you to not want it that way," the Backstreet Boys responded.
So, basically, they don't want the woman to desire distance or view the relationship as a mistake. They want her to NOT want it (the relationship) THAT (mistakes and distance) way. Thus, why the Backstreet Boys DO want it (the relationship dynamic) THAT way (with her also agreeing that it's healthy and good).
Honestly, even with the clarification the wording is confusing as hell. Lucky for them (the Backstreet Boys) it's already in the pop cannon.
Confusing or not, people on Twitter were deeply relieved that this decades long mystery was finally solved.
With this mystery solved, I can finally sleep soundly.