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Three of the singers never sang
No, that’s a lie. I remember the singles, of course, because I still get the urge to sing «Bye Bye Bye» all the damn time like everyone else I know between the ages of 18-22.
For a group with less charm than the A*Teens and less talent than B*Witched, similarly-starred boy band *Nsync fared surprisingly well in overcoming their (seemingly) insoluble weaknesses. When they first appeared on the dance-pop stage in 1998, they had all the looks, ability and sound of the cast-offs from American Idol’s 23rd season. Four of the singers couldn’t dance. Five of the singers would be bested by Nanny McPhee in a beauty contest. And yet with then-seventeen year old crooner Justin Timberlake and J.C. ‘Lurch’ Chasez at the vocal helm, they pittered on the scene with the wonderfully horrible ‘I Want You Back’. Equally captivating (read: airtime filler) singles followed, and the world was sated. ‘ episodes just like the other derivative boy bands, Nsync went away for a few years and listeners expected moved on. Instead, pop blossomed. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys were selling records in unprecedented numbers. Bubblegum pop infiltrated the charts and refused to budge. The members of Nsync hung up their aprons and decided to give it another go.
Cutting the proverbial strings which bound them to crafty pop Svengali and manager Lou Pearlman, in early 2000 the group tried to distance themselves from the squeaky clean blend of tasteless europop and run-of-the-mill balladry which defined their debut album. This time around, they were going to be edgy. They titled their sophomore release No Strings Attached, naively reassuring their fans, their detractors, and perhaps most disconcertingly themselves, that they were no longer peons of the man, man. After soliciting approval for new haircuts, as consolation for being denied any genuine changes by the puppet masters the group so adamantly claimed to be rid of, the group was ready to roll.
The only song I really remember was the one about cyber sex, because even in third grade, that concept freaked me out
No Strings Attached was preceded by the single ‘Bye Bye Bye’, a parting anthem if there ever was one. The single was big, to be sure, and rocketed to the heaviest rotation on every radio station in America. The video, released at a time when Total Request Live force-fed teenagers their next favourite group, was also unprecedentedly popular. But even though the single was infectious, and a standout in a time when infectious pop hits were the name of the game, the massive success of the album was unexpected . On its first day of release (), the album sold over a million copies in the United States alone ‘ this sales figure cannot be understated. Within its first week, the sales total climbed to 2.41 million records, and the year came to a close the album was just a fraction short of staggering 10 million mark. At present, it is the 58th best selling album of all time. How could this be possible, from a band who not two years before had recorded a song entitled ‘Giddy Up’?
For one, No Strings Attached does have a strong collection of songs. ‘Bye Bye Bye’ is likely permanently lodged in everyone’s mental repository ‘ while it is no ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ or ‘Thriller’, the song is well composed, well performed, and catchy as anything. Courtesy of the Swedish hit factory responsibly for such late 90s monster hits as ‘I Want it That Way’ and should-have-been-a-monster-hit ‘Born to Make You Happy’, the song fit perfectly on the radio, because it sounded like every song on the radio. But unlike the meek, docile hits mentioned above, ‘Bye Bye Bye’ was forceful and dynamic. Just as catchy, but far more energetic. Similarly, follow-up single ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ was captivating in its menacing bent coupled with the oh-so-gaudy Barbie & Ken video. In fact, the more rotations these two singles receive, the better they seem (rather than grating, as many pop songs tend to do after a while). Though it has only been six years since they graced the airwaves, these singles have aged particularly well. The final single, the meandering ‘This I Promise You’, is one of the weakest ballads from the teen pop movement, despite being composed by master balladeer Richard Marx. Though this song was a disappointing single release, it serves its place on the album, offering a refreshing break.