As far as I’m concerned it’s still 1999. That’s the year the greatest song in pop music made its debut. In April of that year, my boos, the Backstreet Boys, dropped their first single off their Y2k-themed Millennium. The track, “I Want It That Way,” changed the scope of pop music at the time, which had favored cheese over substance. It was deeper, more meaningful and definitely impactful.
The chart-topping, Grammy-nominated tune landed at #10 on the MTV/Rolling Stone magazine-curated list of “100 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time.” Written and produced by pop demi-god Max Martin (along with fellow Swede Andreas Carlsson and Kristian Lundin), the song quickly became a “TRL” and Top 40 radio staple.
The video itself was a more mature look at the five guys in the band. The Wayne Isham-directed clip was actually pretty simple, given the complex heartache of the track. The sun-drenched video just followed the guys through an airport. As the song crescendos, the guys are met by screaming excited fans holding up handmade signs, a scene they regularly encountered in 1999. (I know, I was there.) That year, the video was up for 4 VMAs and eventually took home the Moonman for Viewer’s Choice. (It probably should have won all of them in retrospect.)
In fact, it was so great and so popular that it was later parodied by the very funny guys of Blink-182 for their “All The Small Things” clip, released later that same year.
So hit “play” and party like it’s 1999 all over again.