Bye Bye Bye"Bye Bye Bye" is a song by the American boy band NSYNC. It was released on January 11, 2000, as the lead single from their third studio album No Strings Attached. The song was written and produced by Kristian Lundin and Jake Schulze, with additional writing by Andreas Carlsson. Its lyrics describe the end of a romantic relationship; it was reported to also reference the group's separation from their manager Lou Pearlman and their record label RCA Records.
"Bye Bye Bye" was a commercial success, peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and within the top 10 in almost every country in which it charted. The song received a Grammy nomination in 2001 for Record of the Year, but lost to U2's "Beautiful Day".
Background"Bye Bye Bye" was written and produced by Kristian Lundin and Jake Schulze, as part of Cheiron Productions, with additional writing by Andreas Carlsson. Lundin stated that it was "totally production driven" and "created from the kick and the bass up". Carlsson wrote the song's lyrics while he was taking a driver's test in Stockholm, Sweden. The song was originally intended to be recorded by English boy band 5ive, but they rejected it as they wanted to become a rap band. Carlsson recalled that one of the band members immediately called for security and left for the airport. The song's chorus was initially written as a rap, where 5ive assumed that they would be competing against Eminem. Prior to its official release in 2000, the song was played at the LIFEbeat AIDS benefit concert in New York on December 1, 1999.
Composition"Bye Bye Bye" was influenced by Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills", as the producers wanted to produce a R&B sound in their production. The song's composition of repeating the title at the beginning and ending of the chorus was used as a foundation for future songs, including "Into You" and "Touch It" by Ariana Grande. The song begins with a string crescendo that climbs before Justin Timberlake's nasal falsetto ad-libs "Hey, hey", leading to the five-part harmony of the song's title. Instrumentation consisted of "buzzy electronics" adding texture to the band's vocals, in contrast to the doo-wop of the Backstreet Boys, as well as hard drums, with a snare and kick.
Lyrically, "Bye Bye Bye" describes a man's desires to end a romantic relationship with a difficult significant other. Carlsson initially wrote the song after his girlfriend left him for another man, whom she married and had children for over twenty years.
Critical reception"Bye Bye Bye" was met with generally favorable reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the song as a "piledriving dance number with the catchiest chorus they've ever sang". Robert Christgau commented that it featured "prefab rhythm at its most efficient." In 2015, Billboards Jason Lipshutz ranked it third on the list "Top 20 Essential Boy Band Songs," describing the song as "an absolute monster of a lead single." Also for Billboard, in 2018 the staff listed the single 12th on "The 100 Greatest Boy Band Songs of All Time," writing, "It's already one of the most decisive breakup anthems in pop history, with an iconic dance move to match[...] the stomping, quintessential Max Martin beat and echoing hook helped No Strings Attached go platinum in one day." Rolling Stone staff ranked it as the sixth-greatest boy band song of all time, writing, "it remains their defining track, a four-minute blast of big hooks, tight harmonies and intriguingly meta subtext." However, another editor from the same magazine listed it as the 17th most annoying song of all time in 2007. In 2013, Complexs Kathy Iandoli ranked it as the best boy band song ever.
The song won "Best Pop Video", "Best Choreography in a Video", and "Viewer's Choice" at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, the most awarded to a single video that year. It also won a Radio Music Radio award in 2000 for best song of the year. The song was nominated for "Record of the Year" and "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Other awards included 3 Teen Choice Awards in 2000 (Choice Single, Choice Music Video, and Song of the Summer), MuchMusic Video Music Award (Favorite International Group for "Bye Bye Bye") and Blockbuster Entertainment Award 2001 (category Favorite Single for "Bye Bye Bye").
Chart performance"Bye Bye Bye" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #42, the week of January 29, 2000, reaching the Top 10 by the week of March 4. The song remained in the Top 10 through May 20, 2000, for 12 weeks. The single peaked at #4 in April 2000 for two consecutive weeks. On the Mainstream Top 40 chart the song reached number one on March 4, 2000 and stayed at the top of the chart for ten weeks, making it one of the songs with most weeks at number one on that chart. The song was the most added pop single to radio of all time, being added to over 200 radio stations in the first week alone. The record was previously held by rivals the Backstreet Boys. The song was a bigger hit internationally, reaching the top of the charts in Australia and New Zealand and number 3 in the United Kingdom. On the week of March 24, 2014, the song re-entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number 14.
BackgroundThe video was directed by Wayne Isham, and was released on January 11, 2000. The budget was estimated to be $1 million, which was attributed to the band wanting to be noticed on MTV. The song's dance routine was choreographed by Darrin Henson, who received a phone call from NSYNC's manager Johnny Wright, as he was about to quit the music industry after missing out on a VMA for Jordan Knight's "Give It to You". Henson flew to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1999, where the band were performing at the Billboard Music Awards, so that he would be able to listen to the track. The band rehearsed at the Alley Kat Studio in Los Angeles over a few days, where Henson stated that he implemented moves which cannot be replicated by other groups. In a 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Henson discussed how he formulated the dance:
I turned the music up as loud as it could go [...] I came up with the pumping hand — that’s the black power fist — and the hand going across the front during the 'bye bye bye' lyric is the 'stop talking s—.' I come from the Bronx, and in New York whenever somebody said something, you'd put your hand up in a talking manner, like open and close, meaning, 'stop talking s—.'
They contacted Isham through the phone, before he met them during dance rehearsals for the song. During the music video's shoot, the band were fastened to bungee cords, mimicking puppets on strings, as well as performing their choreography in a blue gimbal room, which Isham pointed out that it was inspired by Gene Kelly during the 1940s, as well as Lionel Richie's video for "Dancing on the Ceiling", which was directed and choreographed by Stanley Donen. During the speeding train sequence, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick performed their own stunts as they jumped from one train carriage to another, as a Steadicam operator needed to be replaced mid-scene, due to being uncomfortable with the risk. JC Chasez and Lance Bass were placed in a red Dodge Viper RT/10 as part of a car-chase scene inspired by Chasez's favorite film, Ronin, where the film's stunt coordinators were hired to assist the shoot. The scene where Bass and Chasez drop into the car was filmed with a 18 wheeler carrying a pole, which allowed the two to drop into the car. Both scenes were shot in Fillmore, California, as it was the only place to film the train sequence. In an episode of Making the Video, Justin Timberlake explained his reaction to shooting his scene in the music video:
JC and Lance jumped into a moving automobile, Chris and Joey are on top of a train running, so I think I got off easiest on the stunts [...] All I have to do is run, but I have to make it look good — I can't look like a dork when I'm running. Gotta be cool.
Henson eventually won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, while NSYNC also won Best Pop Video at the same ceremony.
The video begins with NSYNC being manipulated as puppets by an evil puppet master, portrayed by Kim Smith. She cuts Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick loose first, as they run across the top of a speeding train and hide among the passengers to escape from her. She cuts Justin Timberlake loose next, as he outruns her trained dogs inside a warehouse and escapes into the pouring rain.
Lance Bass and JC Chasez are finally cut loose as they fall into a red Dodge Viper RT/10. They speed away from her, as she drives a silver BMW Z3. Eventually, they make a sudden u-turn when they are blocked by a truck, forcing the puppet master to brake slower and spend more time performing a u-turn, allowing the two to speed away in the opposite direction.
All the scenes are interspersed with shots of the band dancing in a rotating blue gimbal with a fixed camera, making them appear as though they are on different planes of gravity. The video edit of the song also briefly pauses the music when Justin lands in the warehouse, when Lance and JC land on the car to insert a CD, and the u-turn near end of the video. The final chorus is also extended twice; the first showcasing the band inside the box, while the second highlighting Lance and JC speeding away from the puppet master.
ReceptionThe video reached #1 on TRL for 25 straight days, second only to "U Drive Me Crazy", which made it to 26 straight days at #1. The video placed at #60 on MuchMusic's 100 Best Videos. The video debuted on TRL January 24, 2000. In 2018, iHeartRadio's Nicole Mastrogiannis ranked Timberlake's appearance in the video as the top "Iconic Music Moments From the 00s." The same year Billboard critics ranked it 21st among the "greatest music videos of the 21st century."
As of November 2019, the music video has over 209 million views on YouTube.
Awards and nominations
Remixes #"Bye Bye Bye" (Teddy Riley's Funk Remix) – 4:50 #"Bye Bye Bye" (Teddy Riley's Club Remix) – 5:28 #"Bye Bye Bye" (Riprock 'n' Alex G. Club Remix) – 6:32 #"Bye Bye Bye" (Riprock 'n' Alex G. Club Remix Radio Edit) – 4:53 #"Bye Bye Bye" (Sal Dano's Peak Hour Dub) – 8:30
Credits and personnel;Recording