The Most Common Words In Every Boy Band Song

Ah, boy bands. Their sweet crooning makes girls go gaga. They set the soundtrack for the romantic ups and downs of countless tweens and teens … whether those loves are real or only lived out in dreams.

While boy bands obviously have a lot in common (yes, they’re composed of all boys), their songs have plenty in common as well: the recurring words in their titles and lyrics. 

As you probably know, we’re not talking about too many sesquipedalian terms here. Instead, most are short and sweet and make for a catchy beat.

Let us take you on a stroll down memory lane with eight words you heard frequently if you spent (or is that spend?) much of your time listening to boy band music.

you

Pronouns like you take a starring role in boy band songs. And it makes sense. Not only is it one of our oldest words in English (appearing before the year 900!), but pronouns also make a song more universal. Their use makes it easier to imagine the boys are singing directly to us. “I’m Glad You Came” by The Wanted just wouldn’t be the same if it was “I’m Glad Karen Came,” right? 

A whole slew of other pronouns pop up, too—namely me and I,  as well as cozier ones like we and us

The Backstreet Boys sing “As Long as You Love Me,” and Westlife sings “You Raise Me Up.” Fans of a certain age may recall Menudo singing "When I Dance With You." One Direction had a hit titled “You & I,” while 2gether put them all, well, together with their song titled “U + Me=Us (Calculus).” C'mon, you know you remember that one.

girl

Oh, girl, boy bands are singing directly to your heart.

O-Town belted out tunes like “Shy Girl” and plain old “Girl,” while back in the '80s New Kids on the Block sang “Please Don’t Go Girl.” To be fair, there aren’t a whole lot of good synonyms for girl. We can’t imagine too many great lyrics peppered with young woman, lassie, damsel ... or even person. ("Candy Person" by New Edition, anyone?)

The word girl appears in English around 1250–1300. And, back then, there were girls galore. That’s because the word girl (written in such forms as gurle, grile, and gerle) simply meant "child, young person," regardless of gender.

want

A short word that packs a lot of emotion is want, which is woven throughout many boy band songs. In fact, it’s such an emotive word, at least one band incorporated it into their name: British boy band The Wanted. Of course, the Backstreet Boys sang “I Want It That Way,” while NSYNC hit the charts with “I Want You Back.” 

Want appeared in English around 1150–1200. It comes from the Middle English word wante, which is derived from the Old Norse word vanta (“to lack”). 

love

Of course, love is a prevailing theme in boy band songs. What fan hasn’t dreamed of a handsome troubadour with dreamy good looks crooning amorous feelings just for them? 

Love isn’t always true love, however. Just ask South Korean septet BTS, who sing about “Fake Love.” New Edition's Heart Break asked "If It Isn't Love." Hanson searched for love in “Where’s the Love,” while O-Town belted out “All for Love.” 

Love is as old as time, and the word itself can indeed be found before the year 900.

heart

Matters of the heart are the hot topic in the best boy band songs, and we’re not talking cardiology here. It's all about winning hearts, breaking hearts, and hearts that beat uncontrollably.

The Backstreet Boys promised “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” NSYNC delivered “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” and 5 Seconds of Summers served up “Jet Black Heart.” That's a lot of heart.

This word is another that entered the English language before the year 900.

beautiful

As they say, flattery will get you everywhere, and who doesn’t want to be told they’re beautiful? “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction is a classic. O-Town's lyric “So I'll try and find a melody as beautiful as you,” appears in their song “The Painter." Those are only two from countless of examples.

The word beauty dates back to the 1200s. While there are plenty of good synonyms for beautiful used in boy band songs, like gorgeous and pretty, we’d really like to hear more words like pulchritudinous in their lyrics. It just seems right.

promise

Promises, promises. Boy band songs are filled with them.

From NSYNC’s song “This I Promise You” to the Backstreet Boys’ hits “I Promise You (With Everything I Am)" and “10,000 Promises,” boy bands make pledges aplenty. How many they keep is another story. 

Defined as “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one,” promise dates back to the 1300s.

goodbye

All good things must come to an end, which is why goodbye and the abbreviated version bye is often included in boy band songs. From NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” to Boyz II Men’s catchy “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” farewell is a frequent theme.  

This interjection goodbye appeared around 1565–75. It's a contraction of the phrase “God be with ye.”

Now if you don't have at least one of these songs stuck in your head for the rest of the day, you really can't call yourself a true fan of these classic boy bands, can you? Bye, bye, bye!

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for word fun in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.