"I Want It That Way" as written by Martin Max and Andreas Mikael Carlsson....
Yeah-eh-heah
You are, my fire,
The one, desire,
Believe, when I say
I want it that way

But we, are two worlds apart,
Can't reach to your heart,
When you say,
That I want it that way

Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
Tell me why,
I never want to hear you say,
I want it that way

Am I, your fire?
Your one, desire,
Yes I know, it's too late,
But I want it that way

Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
Tell me why,
I never want to hear you say,
I want it that way

Now I can see that we've fallen apart,
From the way that it used to be, Yeah,
No matter the distance,
I want you to know,
That deep down inside of me

You are, my fire,
The one, desire,
You are (You are, you are, you are)

Don't want to hear you say,
Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
(Don't want to hear you say),
I never want to hear you say,
I want it that way

Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
Tell me why,
Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
Tell me why,
I never want to hear you say,
I want it that way

Tell me why,
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


Lyrics submitted by Boonechic_21

"I Want It That Way" as written by Martin Max Andreas Mikael Carlsson

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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I Want It That Way song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThe Backstreet Boys, so Ive been told, never pass up an opportunity to sing their little lungs out.

    This song originated in such a way, whilst ordering some burgers (and milkshakes) at their local Burger King.

    One of the guys, oh, lets say the one with the....er...um....glasses...YES THATS it, was ordering for everyone and saw another persons order and sang "I want it THAT way"

    He really LOVES his burgers, bless his soul, and pretty soon he got carried away and started getting all mushy and junk.

    "You are, my fire"- a referencing to the 'flame broiling'
    "The one, desire,
    Believe, when I say
    I want it that way"


    Apparently one of the other guys, oh lets say the one with the.....uh....goatee, didn't want it "that way" and they started to sing argue.

    "Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
    Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a mistake,"- "mistake" was originally "milkshake", turns out he was lactose intolerant"

    "Tell me why,
    I never wanna hear you say,
    I want it that way "


    Yeah, it almost broke up the band but good ol' Lou (Pearlman) was there to make things right (and eat up the leftovers). He changed a few words and the rest is music history.

    And you thought they didn't write their own songs ::tsk::


    Svendalinaon July 18, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk, for one thing, fartknoker, the Backstreet Boys didn't write this one. Anyways, I like the song. I think it's sweet.
    Kriscoon May 11, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentall i wanna know is, they want what what way???

    message me if you know, cuz i actually am interested

    i love this song...everytime i hear it, it feels like the first time all over again
    emmychloeon May 11, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk, emmychloe they're saying that their girlfriend wants to break up and they don't want to. They never want to hear her say that she wants it that way, that she wants to break up. At least thats what I think.
    Kriscoon May 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA girl i know can play this on the bagpipes. Rock on Sheila!
    BluePotatoon July 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis isn't about an offical relationship between a man and woman. It think it is about when you love someone who doesn't really know you love them. You are wanting to reveal your true feelings for them, but you don't know how they feel about you or how they will react.
    This explains the:
    "You are, my fire.
    The one, desire,
    Believe, when I say
    I want it that way." The man is secretly in love with the woman and is saying he wants her and only her. He wants it to stay that way. The only way that could change is if he gets rejected. They are "two world apart" and he can't "reach to her heart." So, he is keeping his feelings to himself at first. He is afraid if he tells her how he loves her "that way" she won't love him "that" same way. She may not feel "that" same way about him. This is what it means by:
    "Am I, your fire?
    Your one, desire,
    Yes I know, it's too late,
    But I want it that way"
    "Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
    Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
    Tell me why,
    I never wanna hear you say,
    I want it that way"
    The girl and him are not together but he want to be with her. He wants things to be one way but they are both living is two different worlds and there is no guarantee that she wants things "That" way.

    Theme: He is in love with a woman but he doesn't want to get rejected. But, she may not feel the same way about him. Regardless if she wants things the be the same way he does he will still continue to love her and want things to be "that" way even if they never will be.
    OneNOnlyNatieon October 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationOkay, I know it's even been said even by the writers that this song had no deep meaning and was made by sacrificing coherence for flow, but to me the song can be put into perspective despite the nature of its conception:


    This song is sung from the perspective of the guy in a relationship, and when he says "I want it that way", it's always after a line like "you are my fire, the one desire" - he's saying he wants that passion to remain, that's the "way" he wants it to stay:

    You are, my fire,
    The one, desire,
    Believe, when I say
    I want it that way
    ...
    Am I, your fire?
    Your one, desire,
    Yes I know, it's too late,
    But I want it that way

    (In the first section, the guy says that girl is his fire and only desire, and that this is the way he wants it to stay - "[he wants] it that way". In the second section, he asks the girl whether or not he is her "fire" and "desire", whether he means as much to her as she does to him - he wants that to be that case, hence the reason why "I want it that way" comes right after "Am I, your fire Your one, desire". The line "Yes I know, it's too late" explains why the song sounds so melancholy - the singer is desperately crying out in vain the whole time in hopes of saving a relationship that is inevitably about to end.)


    On the other hand, the "way" that is depicted in "... you say, 'I want it that way'" represents the way the girl in this relationship wants things to be. ... And how exactly does SHE want things to be? Well, she wants the relationship to end - she wants to break up. You can see evidence of this in every section of the song that ends by referring to the girl's "I want it that way":

    But we, are two worlds apart,
    Can't reach to your heart,
    When you say,
    That I want it that way

    (This is the first time the song mentions "you" - aka the girl in the song's relationship - saying "I want it that way" instead of "I", which refers to the guy in the song's relationship. "But we are two worlds apart" is referring to the couple's inability to see eye to eye in the relationship, which follows into "Can't reach to your heart when you say, 'I want it that way'", which paints a scene where the guy is trying to get the girl to reconsider her breakup decision, but he is unable to because she has made up her mind about splitting up - she's decided that she wants it "that way". You'll notice a trend in which the girl's "that way" always follows a bunch of lines that imply a breakup situation in the next few examples from the song.)


    Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a heartache,
    Tell me why,
    Ain't nothin' but a mistake,
    Tell me why,
    I never want to hear you say,
    I want it that way

    (The guy in the relationship exclaims "Tell me why" because he wants to know why the girl is breaking up with him, he is desperate to stay together. "Ain't nothing but a heartache, ain't nothing but a mistake" is the girl's view on what the relationship is to her; she sees the relationship as a mistake that is only causing heartbreak - this is clarified later in the part of the song that goes:
    "Don't want to hear you say, Ain't nothin' but a heartache, Ain't nothin' but a mistake, (Don't want to hear you say), I never want to hear you say,
    I want it that way"
    This section of the song implies that the girl is the one saying "Ain't nothing but a heartbreak" and "Ain't nothing but a mistake", lines that I previously mentioned are referring to the hopelessness of the relationship. And finally we get "I never want to hear you say, I want it that way", which restates the guy's wish for the girl to stay in the relationship.)


    At the very end, there is the final line "'Cause I want it that way" which is used as a follow-up to "I never want to hear you say, (Never want to hear you say it), I want it that way" - this means that the guy ("'Cause I want it that way") wants the girl not to insist on breaking up ("I never want to hear you say ... I want it that way"). It's a final line which echoes a line that is used throughout the song, which does the job of driving the message of the song home - that the guy simply doesn't want the relationship to end - while keeping the overall lyrical deliberation simple enough so that the song remains catchy.

    I appreciate the arrangement of the simple phrases in this song, it really illustrates the nature of the situation the song depicts; the lyric writers definitely know how to put simple to work. Sometimes, after all, simple is the best choice.

    I hope this helped some of you; though I'm sure this will all be obvious to some of you, hopefully some of my examples established the song's meaning a bit more clearly for you. Enjoy your day! (or night)
    Kiranamion April 21, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's from the perspective of a guy pursuing a relationship.

    The first verse is a statement of desire for romance. He wants it "his" way.

    The second verse concedes that she has her own desires, her own world. She might want something different. She wants it "her" way.

    It's intentionally unclear if "his way" & "her way" match. Both parties are afraid to admit they want "that". They fear rejection.

    The chorus reflects some anguish about a POTENTIAL disconnect. "Tell me why" is his demand for an explanation, if rejected. "Ain't nothing but a heartache, ain't nothing but a mistake" is how he'd react to rejection. Sour grapes.

    Third verse, he reveals some angst about his own delay in pursuing her. Does she think of him as friend? He decides to risk that & ask if their desires are compatible.

    Fourth verse, he accepts the possibility of rejection. He wishes her well in spite of this. "No matter the distance, I want you to know..."

    The rest of the song explains itself.
    SteveOramaon September 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlright people, heres what it means ~ahem~ alright, when you listen to the ORIGINAL version, which is called "I want it that way (no goodbyes)" the hook goes like this, which makes it more clear, but the manager said this version was too.....well, too wordy, but i like the original version better, but yeah, the original version's hook goes like this "No goodbyes, aint nothin but a heartache, no more lies, aint nothing but a mistake, that is why...." not to mention every persons part, except my favorite person (howie) is TOTALLY different, like Brian talks about how the girl completes him and that she will be his firend forever more....if i'm confussing you, which i probably am, just DL the original version from morpheus, the tittles called "I want it that way (No goodbyes)" i hope i could help. and remember....HOWIE D IS THE MAN!.....and he MUST be if a guy says it :P
    SuperStupidon May 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentstupid words with no meaning put together. full of nothing. this kind of songs are umm.. well, why do people write these at all? sucks baaad. lol.
    my darling meon July 08, 2002   Link

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