Tag Archives: sexism

Let’s Get Lyrical #15 – Backstreet Boys

When I was a tween, there were no Justin Biebers or Zefrons around to tickle my fancy.  It was a more boyband-centric time, and my group of choice circa 1997 was The Backstreet Boys.  The first CD albums I ever owned were their self titled debut and 911’s The Journey.  Although I had some pretty sweet cassettes prior to that, including More ABBA Gold, What’s The Story (Morning Glory) and Vanessa Mae: The Violin Player.  The first single I ever bought was Alison Limerick’s Make It On My Own, which was 50p from a shop in Perth that sold tapes, woodwind instruments and sheet music.

Anyway, I digress.  This post will take a look at those crazy Backstreet Boys and the slightly deranged lyrics of ‘As Long As You Love Me‘.  Here goes.

Although loneliness has always been a friend of mine

He began, in an emo (and fairly unbelievable) sort of a way,

I’m leaving my life in your hands

From this we might surmise he is talking to someone who he knows and trusts.

People say I’m crazy and that I am blind, risking it all in a glance

Ah.  Perhaps not, then.

And how you got me blind is still a mystery

Well, on Byker Grove, when PJ (or was it Duncan… Ant McPartlin, anyway) went blind, it was because someone shot a paintball in his eyes.  It was one of the most harrowing televisual events I’ve ever seen.  Perhaps the implication here is that a lady shot the BSB with some sort of metaphorical paintball of lurve.

I can’t get you out of my head

That’s normal when you meet someone new mate, don’t panic.

Don’t care what is written in your history
As long as you’re here with me

This is where it starts to get a bit worrying.  What if in her history she was Rose West and Aileen Wuornos rolled into one?  What if she’s a terrible racist?  What if she once nailed a kitten to a door?  Surely these are things you would need time to get used to before proclaiming eternal love?

I don’t care who you are
Where you’re from
What you did
As long as you love me

Really, The Backstreet Boys?  I feel that you haven’t thought this through.  Promising to love a total stranger unconditionally before finding out anything about them is irresponsible to both you and them.  What if they have some past trauma that you are unable to get your head around?  You will fail to support them, having promised through song that you would, and could make their life worse than it already was.  Do you really want that on your conscience?  Especially you AJ, ya drug fiend, and you Nick, with your alcoholic ways.

Who you are
Where you’re from
Don’t care what you did
As long as you love me

… Repeating the previous bit in an increasingly gormless manner doesn’t make you any less irresponsible.

Every little thing that you have said and done, feels like it’s deep within me

How does that work?  You haven’t bothered to find out anything she’s said and done, on account of your misguided belief that love overcomes all without either party having to put any work in.  Unless of course this is just an example of sweeping sexism, and you think that everything of worth this woman has ever said relates to her interest in you.

Doesn’t really matter if you’re on the run
It seems like we’re meant to be

How does that not matter?  You are an internationally successful boy band, she is a criminal on the run.  If you hang out together, she will be found and caught.  WORST BOYFRIENDS EVER.


I’ve tried to hide it so that no one knows

No you haven’t!  You’ve written a song about it!  It spent 56 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100!  It was your biggest selling UK single!

But I guess it shows
When you look into my eyes

Well there’s nothing much else going on in there, let’s be fair.

What you did and where you are comin’ from
I don’t care, as long as you love me, baby.

Maybe you SHOULD.  This attitude to relationships is how you end up going out with Paris Hilton, Nick. Think on that.

Who you are, where you’re from
Don’t care what you did
As long as you love me…  Repeat to fade

The video for this song showed the band auditioning in front of a panel of laydees for an unspecified job.  You might assume they were all going for the position of glaikit boyfriend, but there were six women and five Backstreet Boys, so that couldn’t possibly be what it was about.  Guess it’s just another pop mystery…

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Let’s Get Lyrical #5 – Sisqó

For those people who are in Edinburgh (would that this included me) the Let’s Get Lyrical team and the Scottish Poetry Library are organising a flashmob tomorrow (Tuesday 25th) – if you’re around, head along to St Giles cathedral for 1pm to join in a rousing rendition of A Man’s A Man in honour of Burns Night.

Meanwhile here on the internet, this week I’ll mostly be sharing my thoughts on a few choice lyrics that appeared during the last decade – or the noughties, as some people apparently called it.  Nobody knows who they were, though.  To kick us off, 2000 was the year we were properly introduced to the lyrical genius of Sisqo.  ‘Ah yes,’ I hear you smile, ‘who could forget the multi faceted poetical odyssey that was Thong Song?’  Apparently it has featured in Glee, so even the youth of today will be able to relate.

This thing right here

(I believe he is referring to the song he is about to sing)

Is lettin’ all the ladies know
What guys talk about
You know
The finer things in life
Hahaha – check it out

Finer things, you say?  You mean like cigars and brandy?  Perhaps a game of chess in a leather-bound library with an open fire?

Ooh dat dress so scandalous
And ya know another nigga couldn’t handle it
See ya shakin that thang like who’s da ish
With a look in ya eye so devilish

Oh.  Maybe he wasn’t thinking of cigars and brandy after all.

Ya like to dance at all the hip hop spots
And ya cruise to the crews like connect da dots
Not just urban she likes the pop
Cuz she was livin la vida loca

She sounds fun.

She had dumps like a truck truck truck

Is this a reference to the lady’s habits regarding the WC?  That seems in poor taste, to me.
Thighs like what what what

Well, what?  They’re worthier of note, than the average thigh – why?  What are they like?  Geese?
Baby move your butt butt butt

Rude.  A simple ‘excuse me’ would have sufficed.

I think to sing it again –
She had dumps like a truck truck truck
Thighs like what what what
All night long
Let me see that thong.

You have to hand it to the man, it takes a special level of concentration / empty headedness to be able to spend an entire night looking at one thong.  Obviously I do not condone this type of behaviour as it objectifies the woman, her ‘dumps’, and even her undercrackers.  But at the same time, he’s very focussed.

I like it when the beat goes da na da na

Aw.  Bless.  It is nice when the beat goes da na da na.
Baby make your booty go da na da na
Girl I know you wanna show da na da na
That thong th-thong thong thong

Hm.  Really though?  This is beginning to sound like a date rape defense from a True Movie.  “But judge, she totally wanted to show her da na da na!  I could tell on account of the fact I stared at her arse for an entire evening and when she stood in a certain way I was able to detect the outline of her thong.  A THONG, your honour, the underwear of the consensual partner.”

He then repeats all of the above in a slightly different order, almost as though trying to convince himself that his actions are OK.  The lady doth protest too much, Mr Qó?

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