7 Songs That Make Me Question The Integrity Of 90s Boy Bands

1. “As Long As You Love Me” by the Backstreet Boys

Even 11-year-old me could sense the disturbing and unhealthy implications lurking beneath the Backstreet Boys’ second single, “As Long As You Love Me” or as I like to call it, ‘Anthem for Stockholm Syndrome sufferers the world over.’ The lyrics, “I don’t care who you are/ Where you’re from/ What you did/ As long as you love me,” are sweet in a “I’m not going to hold your past against you” kind of way, but desperate and needy and oblivious in a “You ax-murdered your entire family? Well… I’m not ‘pro-ax-murder’ or anything, but I mean, I guess that’s cool. As long as you love me…” kind of way.

2. “All Or Nothing” by O-Town

Remember “The Hook” by Blues Traveler? If you’re not familiar, it’s essentially ~5 minutes of John Popper being condescending — but damn it sounds good! Popper sings, “It doesn’t matter what I say/ So long as I sing with inflection/ That makes you feel that I’ll convey/ Some inner truth of vast reflection.” In other words, “I could sing about bolo ties right now and you guys won’t know the difference, if I make it sound pretty.” I love that song. That song speaks truth. That song is self-aware. You know what song is the opposite of that song? “All Or Nothing” by O-Town. That song tricked us into believing it was about romance, when really it’s the battle cry of an entitled, friend-zoned clinger. “You know I’d fight for you/ But how could I fight someone who isn’t even there/ I’ve had the rest of you/ Now I want the best of you/ I don’t care if that’s not fair” …dude. She doesn’t like you. Move on and give up your unearned monopoly on 8th grade dances so that future generations might understand what a healthy relationship is.

3. “Space Cowboy” by ‘N Sync

I love ‘N Sync, even now, which makes this all the more painful — WTF was going on with “Space Cowboy”? I can’t think of a single song that more shamelessly panders to Y2K hysteria. There was no chance this song was going to age well. And as if that weren’t bad enough, they had to drag Left Eye into it? Got Left Eye rappin’ about sonic booms and ‘millennium sounds’? Please GTFO with that noise and stick to singing about Skype sex and unrequited love or whatever.

4. “Can’t Have You” by LFO

Whoever was in charge of the ‘Lyte Funky Ones’ when they decided to cover “If I Can’t Have You” is all the wrong things in the universe. We have one of the most famous disco bands (Bee Gees) writing one of the best disco songs (“If I Can’t Have You”) and handing it over to one of the best disco voices (Yvonne Elliman) for use in the best disco movie (Saturday Night Fever) and what does LFO do? They sample the chorus and cheapen the verses with half-assed rap lyrics. These are actual words from their version of the song: “Haha but yo if I can’t have you then I don’t want/ Anybody that’s my word so (no no) check it out.” Um, what? LFO needs to apologize to disco and the 70s in general. Seriously guys, summer girls don’t appreciate this sh-t!

5. “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys

It’s been over a decade and I’m still not clear on what’s going on with “I Want It That Way.” The lyrics are aimed toward… an ex? The fans? The video leads me to believe that it’s directed toward the fans. So BSB begs the fans for validation by asking if [BSB] is [the fans’] fire, the one desire, which… I mean obviously, they are. You’re BSB, you idiots. Then BSB admits they know it’s too late (for what exactly, I’m not sure), but that it’s okay, because they want it that way. They want it to be too late. This is borderline histrionic but also? It plain makes no sense. This is exactly the kind of song John Popper was referring to in “The Hook.” I will retract my statements if one person can explain what the hell the purpose of this song is, other than to take advantage of an audience who doesn’t know any better.

6. “Liquid Dreams” by O-Town

Oh-ho-hooo if only this song lived to see internet-wave feminism! I mean, everything about “Liquid Dreams” is atrocious. A woman who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child, J-Lo, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Salma Hayek etc. is bound to be an aesthetic mess, for one thing. That’s just a rule, it’s like when two ugly people have a gorgeous child. I don’t even want to imagine what kind of personality would result from this Type-A-List Frankensteining. This song is gross and basically exists solely to illustrate a made-up woman who gives O-Town wet dreams. Your target market was 13-year-old girls, did someone forget to mention that?

7. “The Hardest Thing” by 98 Degrees

I just kind of hate whoever wrote this song. At first it’s like, okay… he’s a good guy… he has someone new and he loves her and she deserves the best, good… good… but then he’s all “I know that we’ll meet again” and then “Maybe another time, another day” and finally, “I don’t want to live a lie/ what can I do.” Um, stop insinuating that you really, really love your ex-girlfriend and that the two of you will be together again someday, when you’re done loving your current girlfriend? How about you try that. Dick. TC mark


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  • http://lazylauramaisey.wordpress.com lazylauramaisey

    I have also never understood the words to I Want It That Way. Thank god someone else has finally said it!

    • star

      I know!! Every time I hear that song I’m like WTF? I don’t get it. I always thought it sounded like they hated their fans.

  • krys

    i’m surprised westlife didn’t make the list…

  • kensta

    Thanks, i just re-listened to my 8th grade music playlist

  • http://twitter.com/heronkady10 Kady Heron (@heronkady10)

    I just love the Backstreet Boys way back in high school!
    Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click -> http://www.saversclub.us

  • Charli

    Although not a 90s song the 2001 song “Too Close” by British band Blue, should so be here. Some of the lyrics include
    “Baby when we’re grinding
    I get so excited
    Ooh, how I like it
    I try but I can’t fight it
    Oh, your dancing real close
    Plus it’s real real slow
    You’re making it hard for me…

    …Step back you’re dancing kinda close
    I feel a little poke coming through
    On you

    Now girl I know you felt it
    Before you know I can’t help it
    You know what I wanna do”

    11 year old me fucking loved this song.

    • Kayk

      Pretty sure that song was by the R&B group Next and came out in ’97 or ’98.

    • thandi

      I also loved that song. Its actually a 90’s song and Blue covered it in the 2000’s,i think the original version was done by a group called Next.

  • http://gravatar.com/treysikel Tracee

    This reminded me of a conversation that I had with my officemates. It isn’t just the boybands though. Even some of the songs that Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera makes me say “WTF did I listen to when I was a kid?”

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  • jeremy

    Come on BSB is amazing. Don’t be a hater. Those are great songs!!

  • Pam

    Lol. Finally! Someone who agrees with my view that Liquid Dreams is plain unsexy and insulting to women.

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