I Want It That Way – Another Cover Up


The I Want It That Way cover post ended up leading down a path of even more varied Backstreet covers that I couldn’t resist sharing.  I’m starting to feel like I could create an entire album of just covers of this song!

We have a duet between Jewel and Josh Wolf, host of CMT’s aptly titled, The Josh Wolf Show.  Josh is the late night comedian host of one of CMT’s late night shows and asked Jewel to sing with him for a guilty pleasure segment.  OF COURSE they sang I Want It That Way.  Of course they did. And Jewel nails it not just vocally but these outfits and the choreography?  Amazing.

The Backstreet Boys have a HUGE fanbase in China so maybe it shouldn’t surprise me to hear someone do a fully translated version of the song.  Musicians Gerald Ko, Dawen and Jane Lui collaborated to translate and cover the track and the results are really cool. You tend to hear a lot of foreign artists cover songs in the original language, but hearing it in another one is not only fascinating but reinforces what we already know: this melody is sick.  Even if you change around the words themselves, removing the easy rhyming, the track still holds up!

I’m kind of embarrassed I left this one off of the original I Want It That Way cover post because I know there are a lot of rock fans out there that also love the Boys.  A band called Fort Worth uploaded this punk, garage cover of the song in 2011 and it captures the original melody perfectly while still making it their own.  The harmonies they add at the end on top of the rock screaming delivery?  Masterful.

Less of a punk rock fan and more of an 80s glam, hairband rock fan?  OH WELL I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU MY FRIEND – Steel Panther did a cover of I Want It That Way that you are wasting if you don’t blast in your car while driving miles above the speed limit. The music is a gift from the 80s rock gods.  If you need to get pumped up for work, exercise, a road trip, work… anything at all, this is the cover for you!

MKTO covered the track after only sorting out the arrangement the night before.  It’s much more simplistic than the previous two covers, only using an acoustic guitar, but Tony Oller’s voice is magic on the track.  I’m not a huge fan of Malcolm’s contribution here but appreciate the integration of a hip hop vibe into the song.  I think if they had more time to iron it out, it would have flowed better.  That being said, it’s still well worth a listen.

MKTO I Want It That Way Cover

It didn’t hurt that Tony’s first concert was a Backstreet Boys show and that he acknowledges their superiority over N’sync.

Charli XCX wins this round of covers, however, with an 80s synth pop version that SLAYS any other I’ve heard.  First, there’s the restrained, breathy delivery.  It. Is. So. Perfect.  Charli XCX has a really unique style and sound and it is beyond refreshing. Citing influences like Björk and Siouxsie Sioux, it is pretty awesome to see her unapologetic proclamation of love for one of the most famous boyband tracks of all time. The crowd reaction to her cover also gives me a serious case of the feels.  It really doesn’t matter what your musical preferences are, this song crisscrosses fans of every genre!  Make sure if you haven’t heard it that you give Charli’s angsty cover a listen.

Do you know what type of cover I’m surprised I haven’t stumbled across yet?  A country version.  The Jewel cover comes closest but it’s not a true country rendition.  There has to be one out there, right?

If the artists above performed the track for you on a show like American Idol or The Voice, who would get your vote? Share below in the comments!  


One thought on “I Want It That Way – Another Cover Up

  1. Great post! I prefer Dynamite Boy’s pop-punk cover of IWITW more than Fort Worth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwtjfoWnqyQ Dynamite Boy’s cover has that Green Day-vibe and a rad electric guitar solo in the bridge section. Also, the Chinese cover is done by Taiwanese musicians. Dawen is Taiwanese-American, born in the US; he started his career as a Youtube star and recently released an album.


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