Celebrating 25 Years of Iconic Pop Anthem: “I Want It That Way”

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Backstreet Boys, BSB Army, Flashback Friday, History, Music, Pop Music, Throwback, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Can you believe it has been 25 years since the release of one of the most iconic pop songs of all time? That’s right, the Backstreet Boys’ timeless hit, “I Want It That Way,” first graced our ears on April 12, 1999, and it continues to captivate listeners around the world with its infectious melody and heartfelt, albeit confusing lyrics.

The lead single off their smash 1999 sophomore (US) release Millennium has been a an iconic staple for 25 years. From the moment those opening chords strike, transporting us back to the late ’90s, “I Want It That Way” has been synonymous with pop perfection. Written by Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson, the song became an instant classic, topping charts globally and solidifying the Backstreet Boys’ status as one of the most beloved boy bands in history. 

But what is it about “I Want It That Way” that has allowed it to stand the test of time? Perhaps it’s the irresistible harmonies that effortlessly blend the voices of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell. Or maybe it’s the universal themes of love and longing woven into its lyrics, resonating with listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Maybe it is the lyrics that make absolutely no sense at face value but still get stuck in your head for days to come. 

“I Want It That Way” transcends its status as a mere pop song, evolving into a cultural phenomenon that has woven itself deeply into the fabric of music history. Beyond its catchy melody and infectious lyrics, the song holds a unique position in the collective consciousness, resonating with listeners across generations and cultures.

One of the key factors contributing to its enduring legacy is its ability to evoke a range of emotions and memories. Whether it’s nostalgia for the late ’90s, when the song first made its mark, or a timeless appreciation for its universal themes of love and longing, “I Want It That Way” has a timeless quality that continues to captivate audiences.

Moreover, the song’s influence extends far beyond its initial release, permeating various aspects of popular culture. From memorable appearances in films (From Magic Mike to Tokyo Vice) and television shows (hello Brooklyn 99!) to its ubiquitous presence in karaoke bars and wedding playlists, it has become an integral part of our cultural landscape. In fact, this is one of the most effective “call and response” songs in history. You can literally go anywhere on the planet and yell “Tell Me Why” and will hear a choral response of “ain’t nothin but a heartache!”

Perhaps most significantly, “I Want It That Way” has had a profound impact on the music industry itself. Its success paved the way for a new era of boy bands and pop acts, shaping the sound and aesthetic of mainstream pop music for years to come. Countless artists cite it as a source of inspiration, drawing upon its melodic hooks and emotional resonance in their own work.

But perhaps the true magic of “I Want It That Way” lies in its ability to evoke nostalgia and transport us back to a simpler time. For many, the song serves as a soundtrack to cherished memories of adolescence, first loves, and carefree days spent singing along with friends. 

As we celebrate 25 years of “I Want It That Way,” let’s take a moment to appreciate the enduring legacy of this iconic anthem. It’s a reminder of the power of music to unite us, to evoke emotion, and to transcend generations.

So here’s to the Backstreet Boys and their timeless hit that continues to inspire and delight audiences worldwide. Happy anniversary, “I Want It That Way” – may your melody continue to resonate for another 25 years and beyond.

In case you missed it, check out the Reimagined version of I Want It That Way that Backstreet Boys rerecorded and put out for the 20th anniversary in 2019. 

And of course, relive the MUSIC VIDEO that will have us wishing we were part of that LAX crowd. 

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We are a group of women who love and support the Backstreet Boys. We are professionals in various aspects of business with backgrounds in marketing, journalism, writing, and psychology. 


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