Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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What the World Needs Now: An *NSYNC Reunion

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 19, 2007

Love, sweet love like I need a hole in my head

It seems increasingly obvious to me that *NSYNC were to the turn of the millenium what The Jackson 5 were to the 70s, what New Edition were to the 80s and what New Kids on the Block were (arguably) between the 80s and 90s–the pop supremacists of the time that owned charts and hearts everywhere, and more importantly, deserved it. Revisiting their catalogue, it clearly stands far above any of their Boy Band peers–even Backstreet Boys, the group that always seemed one step ahead of them at the time but whose big hits now sound exceedingly weak by comparison–and if anything, sounds better (and more refreshing) now than it did then. The statute of limitations on *NSYNC has definitely been lifted.

And interestingly, unlike all the other groups previously mentioned, *NSYNC have never actually failed or faded away. In fact, the group stopped at near the peak of their powers–though 2001’s Celebrity might not have been quite as popular as 00’s record-shattering No Strings Attatched, it still spun off three gigantic hit singles, saw the group expanding their sound beyond typical Boy Band fare, and saw the group beginning to emerge as songwriters and producers as well. While the hits had begun to dry up for 98 Degrees and LFO, and Backstreet Boys were clearly stagnating, *NSYNC seemed like they could’ve been the one group to survive the Boy Band era.

But then a certain someone decided to strike out on a solo career, and turns out he was pretty good at it–as forward-thinking as Celebrity might have been, Justified blew it out of the water, and suddenly Justin Timberlake wasn’t just the guy from *NSYNC, he was JT, a gigantic pop star in his own right. Then JC Chasez’s album flopped, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass made one of the worst romantic comedies of the millenium and Chris Kirkpatrick went underground. No longer anywhere close to being on the same footing as his ex-boybandmates, prospects of JT returning to *NSYNC seemed dim, and Timberlake more or less confirmed as much on an All Eyes on Me MTV special, in which he said he wasn’t sure what the group would do if they got back together, since “the music they were once famous for has since decreased in popularity.”

I always thought Bass’s performance was lacking a certain sincerity

Well, I say that now is the time to bring it back. The timing might never be as good again as it is now–Lance Bass’s recent sexuality revelation still has about 45 seconds left on his 15 minutes, Chris Fitzpatrick is gonna be on the new VH1 CelebReality show Man Band (along with members of Color Me Badd, LFO and 98 Degrees–yeowch), and JT is so worshipped by both critics and pop fans of all stripes that any project of his would be embraced by all with open arms. The pieces are in place.

But most importantly, I think its simply time for people to like *NSYNC again. The kids who fawned over Joey, Chris, Lance, JT and Justin when they were tweens are now mostly in their college years, that magical time period where everything from your youth that you were supposed to hate while you were in High School suddenly becomes cool again–are you gonna tell me that these people wouldn’t scream along to “It’s Gonna Be Me” if it was played at the right party? A little over a year ago, I did a Name That Tune contest with my High School friends, and across five decades of popular music that I asked questions about, the only song that every one of them correctly identified was “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Meanwhile, on a recent episode of Scrubs, Turk claimed he was bringing back “Bye Bye Bye” with his new ringtone, and had the entire Sacred Heart staff (including Kelso!) grooving to it within seconds. Clearly, people’s *NSYNC memories are still as vivid as they ever were.

I’m not sure what it would sound like if they released a new album–though I bet some of the high-profile friends JT has picked up along the way to becoming the biggest pop star in the world would probably be along to lend a hand– and I can’t even really guarantee that it would be any more successful than the lukewarmly received BSB career reinvention, Never Gone. But dammit, it’s been over a half-decade since we’ve had a decent boy band superpower, and that’s just too long.

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4 Responses to “What the World Needs Now: An *NSYNC Reunion”

  1. Mayank said

    That was a good read, dude – thanks a-latte!

  2. Kendal said

    WORD. If Nsync made a reunion, I don’t know a single one of my girlfriends who wouldn’t be all about it. It neeeeeeeds to happen…And soon.

  3. Brianna said

    I hate to tell you, but MOST people, Rolling Stone and MTV would disagree with your assessment of the durability of *nsync’s hits versus those of the Backstreet Boys. I Want It That Way was listed #10 in their list of the all time best pop songs-Bye Bye Bye was WAY down the list. The Backstreet Boys’ songs appealed to many age groups and many CULTURAL groups(see sales in Afghanistan, Tibet, Iraq and India)-*nsync mostly to beatdriven lemming crowd. I suspect that 50 years from now, when someone does a thesis of the pop songs of the 90’s-I Want It That Way will be included and I doubt Bye Bye Bye will. Included in that thesis will be TOTAL record sales. One week sales will have no meaning. And CD to CD, time after time, Backstreet has outsold nsync everytime. At the present time if you add Justin Timberlakes’s CD sales to *nsync’s total sales-you STILL have half the totall CD sales of the Boys. *nsync was a flash in the pan-carried on the coattails of a single talent.

  4. san said

    well i have to disagree with you there bria because i am a huge fan of nsync and jt and they have really crossed over because nsync songs was played on black stations and there videos was aired on black stations as well as jt

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