No Grammar is Taught in the Boyband Academy: Backstreet Edition

It's not quite lyric analysis.  It's better!  It's grammar analysis.  Backstreet Boys edition.

 

"All I Have To Give"

I don't care if he buys you nice things
Does his gifts come from the heart?
Does he leave (does he leave) when you need him the most?
Does his friends get all your time?

Does his gifts come from the heart?  Does his friends get all your time?  I... this hurts me.  IT HURTS.  It’s the difference between singular and plural.  If you reverse the sentence structure it’s easier to see.  “His gifts DO come from the heart.”  “He DOES leave when you need him the most.”  Gifts (plural) do.  He (singular) does.  Does goes with the third person singular.  He/she/it does.  You see?  AJ?  Hmm?  The way you sing it isn’t just wrong, it sounds stupid.  And it hurts.

 

“Let’s Have A Party”

Let's have a party
So everybody can enjoy yourself with me

So everybody can enjoy themselves with me.  So you can enjoy yourself with me.  So everybody can enjoy you with me.  Those are your options.  And that third option means something very sketchy indeed, Boys, but it’s at least grammatically correct.  What you said is total nonsense.  Everybody cannot enjoy yourself.  

(But all I wanna know is where the party at)

Ah, the time-honored tradition of dropping words to sound cool.  In this case ‘is’ which is an important verb: actually an auxiliary or linking verb in this example.  “But all I wanna know is where the party is at.”  Too dense?  I know, all you wanna know is where the party’s at.  So let me break it down for you this way: you’re not from the hood.  This buys you no street cred.  You’re the Backstreet Boys, for godsakes.  Use your words.  All of them.

 

"I'll Never Break Your Heart"

As time goes by
You will get to know me
A little more better

Baby, you aren’t just going to get to know them a little.  Or a little more.  Or even a little better.  You’re going to get to know them a little more better.  Because they’re Backstreet, baby, so if it’s good, it’s more good.  And if it’s better, it’s a little more better than that. 

 

"Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"

So everybody, everywhere
Don't be afraid, don't have no fear

Be afraid, actually.  That double negative is a clear message.  “Don’t have no fear”?  Are you mad?  Be very afraid.  Especially of their grammar.

As long as there'll be music, we'll be comin' back again

I suppose technically it works.  It’s not wrong, per se, but it also doesn’t make as much clear sense as  “As long as there is music we’ll be coming back”.  Of course that doesn’t fit the melody so extra words are probably the answer.  Why not?  Sing whatever!  Nobody’s listening to the lyrics.  Just douse them all in water while they’re wearing white shirts and they might as well be singing the damn phone book.

 

"I Want It That Way"

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

This is a whole lot of slang is what this is.  This is the kind of language their mothers probably corrected ad nauseum prior to fame making them collectively untouchable in the correction department.  “I don’t wanna eat my peas, Ma!”  “You don’t want to eat them, Kevin, but you are certainly going to.”  “It ain’t nothin but a scratch, Ma!”  “It isn’t anything but a scratch, Nick, and so help me god it’s a scratch on my car that you will pay to have fixed.”

 

"Shape Of My Heart"

Sadness is beautiful loneliness that's tragical

Tragical is my favorite word in the Backstreet lexicon.  It’s not that it isn’t a word full stop because it is.  Sort of.  It’s an antiquated word and ‘tragic‘ or ‘tragically‘ perform the same function.  There is nothing so tragic that it needs to be tragical, is what I’m saying.  So tragical is one of those magic words that Backstreet resurrected because they’re linguists like that.  It packs an extra lyrical punch.  It’s kind of tragical that it’s not in more frequent use, actually.

Touch me now don't bother if every second it makes me weaker
You can save me from the man I've become

Can we talk about this?  This isn’t so much a grammar issue as just an issue.  “Touch me now - don’t bother” is... confusing at best.  So touch me but don’t if it’s going to make me weaker though you can save me, if you do, from the man that I now am presumably from lack of your touch.    

I'm here with my confession
Got nothing to hide no more

Double negative!  They totally have something to hide.  They sit on a throne of lies!

 

- Corinne Simpson