Annotated Lyrics: The Real Meaning Behind “The Boy Is Mine”

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
When you were a teenager, you didn't really think about the meanings of the words to your favorite songs. You just sang along — and possibly choreographed dances to them with your friends. And, since nostalgia and millennials are something of a package deal, it's likely that now you look back fondly on the songs of your adolescence as untouchable, perfect, not up for criticism. But have you ever stopped to think about what these songs are actually about? In our Annotated Lyrics series, we'll revisit No. 1 songs on their chart-topping anniversary to explore what the lyrics are really telling us.
On July 18, 1998, Brandy and Monica had a chart-topping duet. "The Boy Is Mine" played a central role in the formative years of '90s kids, and now it plays an equally important role on any #TBT playlist.
But, in retrospect, this song doesn't make a lot of sense.
Though the song — and the incredibly dated music video — holds a special place in our hearts, a closer look at the lyrics brings up a lot of valid questions. For starters, how did this conversation even take place? This was a time before social media and the ubiquity of cell phones with data plans. Did they just run into each other at the mall? Also, why are these women feuding with each other? It's pretty clear that the real enemy is this dude who's trying to date both of them.

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