The Swedish team of Jacob Schulze, Andreas Carlsson and Kristian Lundin wrote "Bye Bye Bye," with Lundin and Schulze producing. A lot of pop music around this time was generated by Swedes, often helmed by Max Martin, who frequently worked with Carlsson and Lundin. Their names show up on tracks by Backstreet Boys as well.
The song is about a guy who has reached the end of his patience in his relationship and is ready to leave. "Don't want to be a fool for you," he tells the girl as he shows her the door.
This was the first single from the second 'N Sync album, No Strings Attached, which set a record by selling 2.4 million copies the first week it was out. By 2000, there was a hysteria for the group, which had some modest hits from their first album ("I Want You Back," "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You") but nothing crazy. That album was issued internationally in 1997 to test their appeal, then released in America in 1998. With New Kids On The Block off the radar since 1991, many wondered if the boy band genre was over, but both 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys made inroads, and when BSB issued their album , which went on to sell over 12 million copies Millennium in 1999, it started the frenzy. Already established as their closest competitors, 'N Sync rode that wave with No Strings Attached America. After that wave crested, they released one more album - Celebrity in 2001 - which sold 5 million, and then they broke up. Justin Timberlake ended up being the breakout solo star with his first album, Justified, in 2002.
No Strings Attached was 'N Sync's first album released on Jive Records. Claiming their manager, Lou Pearlman, was taking almost all of their profits, the group sued to leave him and the RCA label to sign with Jive. This led to speculation that "Bye Bye Bye" was about their break with Pearlman, although there's no evidence to support this: The song is about a boy who wants to leave a girl he used to love, and explores his feelings about their relationship.
For the 2000 American Music Awards, Sid and Marty Krofft, who had worked on H.R. Pufnstuf and Land Of The Lost, designed 25-foot puppets of the band. The Kroffts sued when photos of the puppets were used on souvenir programs and backstage passes without their permission, but the case was thrown out of court.
Billboard announced in December 2009 that No Strings Attached was the best-selling album of the 2000s in the US with over 10 million copies sold to that point.
JC Chasez said during an episode of Making the Video: "The song is a love song, but it's about kissing somebody off after they burned you."
The video was directed by Wayne Isham and features 'N Sync as puppets controlled by an evil puppetress played by Kim Smith. The Friday Night Lights actress also appeared in the clip for the boy band's song "It's Gonna Be Me."
In a 2017 Super Bowl commercial for the beverage Bai, Christopher Walken quotes some lines from this song before we see that Justin Timberlake is sitting next to him. Says Walken:
I don't want to make it toughI just want to tell you that I've had enoughIt might sound crazy but it ain't no lie baby Bye bye bye
This was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals but lost to Steely Dan's "Cousin Dupree."