‘What’s the deal with this pop life?’: an *NSYNC retrospective

Illustration by Rachel Razza

As I see so many of today’s young girls obsessing over Justin Bieber, I must confess, “it’s tearin’ up my heart.” What happened to pop music?

Back in the day, a different Justin was a predominant force in the industry — known for his voice, perfect style and ability to melt hearts across America.

Sound familiar?

Sorry J. Biebs, but Timberlake was the original tweenage girl’s dream.

He too was known for having great hair of a different sort. Remember that ’fro?

Personally, I preferred Lance Bass. After all, in light of his stint with NASA, you could argue that he was out of this world — except he never actually became an astronaut, did he?

Admittedly, I still have a Bass bobble-head sitting on my bedroom dresser.

It’s gotten dusty over the years, but when I see it, the same thing happens as when I hear the songs “It’s Gonna Be Me” or “Just Got Paid” — overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia, I am reminded of how “in sync” these five guys were with our culture and what an integral role they played in my adolescence.

Back in fourth grade, the categorization of whether you were an *NSYNC fan or a Backstreet girl was as serious as asking someone if they’re a Democrat or a Republican.

Individuals ferociously defended their favorite grouping of males, and it could instantly make you BFF with someone, as long as you agreed to let her have JC when you married Justin.

In my opinion, *NSYNC was the greatest boy band of all time.

Unlike those frequent Backstreet Boys reunions that everyone brags about attending, not much has been said of the onetime music-making marionettes.

It seems as though their careers have gone “bye bye bye,” excluding Justin, whose solo route has been seemingly successful. He went on to collaborate with hip-hop superstars, like T.I. and Timbaland.

Meanwhile, Joey Fatone hosted a singing spelling-bee show on NBC and J.C. Chasez served as a judge on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”

Lance came out of the closet, thus shattering my childhood dreams of marrying the man — but, good for him. Plus, if I can’t have him, I’m content knowing no other woman can either.

Besides a guest spot on Nickelodeon’s cartoon “The Fairly Odd Parents,” it seems as though Chris Kirkpatrick hasn’t done much. But, it’s okay because he wasn’t really anyone’s favorite, was he? Sure, I loved the Busta Rhymes-esque braided ponytail thing Chris had going on in the earlier days of “I Want You Back,” but I don’t recall much else about him.

Something I do remember is feeling like the coolest fifth-grader on the planet when I saw the band in concert at Continental Airlines Arena during its tour in 2002. Who cares if I was literally sitting in the second-to-last row of the entire stadium? I was in the same vicinity as the kings of “Dirty Pop.”

Although I’ve seen other concerts since, nothing quite measures up. If current teeny-boppers step back and compare past music to present, they’ll realize nothing can truly top “Pop.”

As a matter of fact, the group said it best, in that very song: “The thing you got to realize / What we’re doing is not a trend / We got the gift of melody / We’re gonna bring it ’til the end!”

Jamie Primeau can be reached at primeau2@tcnj.edu.