[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]
In 1998 N Sync, of Orlando, Florida, became overnight phenoms. Seemingly every girl old enough to get her ears pierced but not old enough to rent a car had a copy or two of their self-titled debut album.
So what was the problem?
Well, for some reason everyone made fun of them. Considered them the epitome of everything that was wrong with popular music. Sure, they didn't really write their own songs, or choreograph their dances, or play instruments. And sure the Backstreet Boys were already on the scene when they got popular, and yes a couple of the members plucked straight from The Mickey Mouse Club.
But let's be honest. They were fucking amazing.
Me, I was eight at the time, with their debut on repeat and every wall in my room covered with their posters and magazine cut outs. And I do mean covered; I even had pictures of Justin and Britney on my wall, with hand-drawn hearts around them, though in truth I would have liked to take her place.
By the time I turned 10 my prayers were answered; Justin and Britney were broken up, and the guys had released another album, No Strings Attached, which was even more amazing. Their success was at its peak, and so was my love for them.
See, you need to understand that, for all the jokes made about them, N Sync really did have a lot going for them. For one thing — no sophomore slump for these boys! Also, their production was first rate. And even if others behind the curtain were largely responsible for the group's songs, that doesn't make their craft any less commendable. Good, aggressive synth-pop is hard to find!
Further, they may have been a pre-fab group, but they gelled in an organic way that is uncommon among boy bands. Let's not forget, too, that the act gets much of the credit for the development of a certain Justin Timberlake, even if he did feel like he looked like a “moron” at the time. (Ahem.)
Yupsters, how can you, with a straight face, express your profound admiration for JT and simultaneously scoff at the group that gave him his foot in the door? N Sync brought Timberlake into this world and N Sync can take him away!
You know, lots of folks didn't write their own music. Like Elvis, for example. Who was a teen idol himself, of course. It is N Sync, however, who has forged the modern template for the boy band. Those kids tearing up hearts like Wanted and One Direction? Nothing more than N Syncs in trendier clothing.
So now that I'm of legal drinking age, let's raise a glass for N Sync. And though his marriage to Jessica Biel has probably permanently thwarted my plans for JT, I still plan on carrying a torch.