15 of BSB's Worst Lessons in Love

by Rachel Semigran

First things first, the Backstreet Boys record-breaking album Millennium was released 15 years ago. For 15 years, we’ve been blessed with white tanks and track pants, fly space suits, and more halo lighting than can be found in daytime television. BSB may have been around for more than 20 years now, but Millennium was the album that made them more than just a boy band of the moment: It made them bonafide pop stars for the record books (“I Want it That Way” was ranked in the top 10 best pop songs of all time #backstreettrivia).

Secondly, for as many amazing synchronized steps and heart-melting melodies they’ve bestowed upon the world, they’ve also given their fair share of terrible love advice. When you take a moment to actually listen to the lyrics as you’re screaming along with your BFF with the windows down, traversing through open roads and high school nostalgia... you just may find some pretty messed up nuggets in there. Fess up fans, after 15 years, none of us know what “that way” means. And maybe it’s best we leave it that way. Let it be the great mystery wrapped in an enigma cast in shadows it was always meant to be.

But if you will, allow me to shed some light on 15 of the most confusing, upsetting, and all-around awful lessons in love AJ, Nick, Brian, Howie, and Kevin have given us over the years.

1. You may never ever know what the person you love actually wants.

What is it? What is that way? I have spent 15 years trying to figure this out and I know nothing. This in no way helps me surmount the rocky terrain of love and dating. Thanks for NOTHIN’ guys (JK JK thanks for 20 years of glory). Also, why are you ghosts?

2. Empty Promises Are in Endless Supply.

I’m calling bully on this one, fellas. I listened to this song obsessively and it gave me highly unrealistic expectations. You know when you start dating someone and they tell you how much they want to keep you safe and never hurt you and take care of you forever and then 4 months later you’re deserted in a pile of burrito wrappers and Franzia? Nope, this didn’t give me a complex at all.

3. Every gal should have a bad boy phase, Right?

WRONG! So wrong! Listen Nick Carter, I don’t care how hard you hit those notes during every BSB bridge and key change, but do not, I repeat do NOT tell me, “If you want it to be good girl, get yourself a bad boy.” That just leads you into dating drummers, which is never good for anyone.

4. If your partner wants something, give it to 'em no matter what!

Ugh, c’mon! “It doesn't matter if it's wrong or right, I really need you tonight”?? I could say the same about a pizza. Please don’t equate me to pizza.

5. You should always open up to the "Nice Guys" when mending a broken heart.

Ahem, from the classic “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” we hear, “When you talk does it seem like he's not even listening to a word you say? That's okay babe, just tell me your problems I'll try my best to kiss them all away.” Are you actually going to listen to my problems or are you just in this to get in in some post-breakup hormones? HARRUMPH.

6. Just suppress those worries about your partner cheating.

"Listen Baby I'm sorry/ Just wanna tell you don't worry/ I will be late don't stay up and wait for me."

Oh no woman has ever heard THAT line before. We have all gotten “The Call” and this song is just proof that none of us can escape it. UGH. SIGH. BARF.

7. Of course you can change and save someone.

“Hold me now don't bother if every minute it makes me weaker/ You can save me from the man that I've become.”

If the person your with asks you to save them, RUN.

8. If your lover uses flowery language, it doesn't matter what they say!

I’m still on “Shape of My Heart” because that song seriously has some messed up shit going on. “Sadness is beautiful, loneliness that's tragical.” REALLY?

9. A New Boyfriend is ALWAYS the solution for a bad break-up.

Look, I get it. Love songs are often about unrequited passion and wanting someone you can’t have. But when you have a song that’s about a woman being treated poorly and you think her solution for happiness is a new boyfriend? C’monnnnnn. “Listen, I mean it/ There's nothing that he's worthy of/ He's just another playa'/Playin in the name of love/ I've seen enough, now this must come to an end/Get another Boyfriend.”

Or maybe get a hobby. Call your friends you ditched while you were dating. DO YOU.

10. You can be filled will nothing.

Okay, the song is called “Incomplete” however, “Empty spaces fill me up with holes.” That’s not how empitness and holes work.

11. Unintelligible metaphors can lead to trust and intimacy.

“You find the truth in a child’s eyes/ When the only limit is the sky/ Living proof I see myself in you.”

It’s been 20 years, you’d think there would be at least a little more clarity. But screw it, shirtless Brian, folks!

12. It's definitely your fault when your partner isn't getting what they want.

"I live my life the way/To keep you comin' back to me/ Everything I do is for you/So what is it that you can't see/ Sometimes I wish I could turn back time /Impossible as it may seem/ But I wish I could so bad, baby/You better quit playin' games with my heart."

So do you want out or back in? Get it together!

13. Personal history and basic, identifying information don't matter!

"I don't care who you are/ Where you're from/What you did/As long as you love me."

What did she do Howie? Is this some sort of criminal record? You keep saying over and over that you don’t care what she did or even WHO she is. ARE YOU TELLING ME TO FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE IN THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM!? Regardless, the chair dance from this video changed all of our lives for the better.

14. Laziness is so sexy.

"Girl you make me wanna move/ It's the price I got to pay/For all the things you do."

Uhhhh, sorry you had to get up?

15. You can never ever leave your partner. OR ELSE.

"Without you I don't think I can live."

Oh great, now I have THAT on my plate? THANKS A LOT.

I can't lie, though. I do, and always will, love the Backstreet Boys.

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