Flashback Friday: ★NSYNC - It's gonna be me | Pop said 'No, bitch!'

Flashback Friday: ★NSYNC - It's gonna be me | Random J Pop

It's May. So it felt as fitting a time as any to write-up a piece on ★NSYNC and their smash hit "It's gonna be me". Because this.

I remember the days when MTV used to actually play music videos and pretty much only play music videos. And ★NSYNC's shit was always on rotation. "Tearin' up my heart", "I want you back", "Bye Bye Bye". Every hour, without fail.

★NSYNC was a group that I wouldn't really acknowledge until reading that The Neptunes had cut a song with them. I literally bought their album Celebrity just to hear that one song. "Pop" was on constant rotation on MTV (because, obviously). But that did nothing to make me go and give Jive records 10 pounds of my money the way an article that Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo had worked these 5 white boys did. I was going through this phase of just loving everything that The Neptunes did, because everything they put out circa 2000 was fire, and I was (and still am) that guy who buys albums based on the writers and producers involved with it.

"Girlfriend" was the ★NSYNC song that I openly liked and played. It was 'the gateway song'. And as a result of it, I ended up listening to the rest of the album, warming to other songs and finding myself really liking their older shit when it hit rotation on MTV. So much so to the point that I eventually went and bought No strings attached. And of course, I played the absolute shit out of "It's gonna be me".

If truth be told, I always liked "It's gonna be me" from the first time I heard it. I don't know why I prevented myself from allowing myself to just enjoy it. It was the exact same situation with Britney Spears. I always liked her songs on the down low. But it wasn't until "I'm a slave 4 U" came out (coincidentally another artist under Max Martin's wing who dropped a single produced by The Neptunes) that I allowed myself to just enjoy and like her previous releases.

Me not digging ★NSYNC's songs was never because they were bad. "Tearin' up my heart" was a bop and "Thinking of you (I drive myself crazy)" remains my jam to this day. I knew ★NSYNC were a decent group, that their singles weren't flukes and that J.C Chasez could really fucking sing. But it seemed to take a co-sign from The Neptunes for me to be able to let myself like them. It would be deemed cooler to say that I liked ★NSYNC off the back of that R&B joint they did where they raced cars in the video, as opposed to that Pop song where they were toys in boxes.

I never thought much about why I was so hung up on being a closeted Pop fan. Looking back on it, maybe I was internalising how I'd look as young black boy on the verge of adolescence liking a white boy band, when my look dictated that I probably should have been more into Blackstreet or 112. All of which is all bizarre, because when I first discovered music as a young tot, I just liked what I liked, regardless of genre or who the artist was. I could not have given any less of a fuck about the perception people would have of me for liking certain types of songs. But when I shunned music in favour of video games, I'd found a part of myself...but lost another. And when I started to get back into music again, I was at that point in my life when I was becoming self-aware, I was discovering a lot of things about myself; and when it came to music, I felt like I couldn't really pick up where I left off. I always loved Pop, but was made to feel (or I made myself feel), that it wasn't cool to like that stuff any more. Everybody around me was so into R&B and that shaped my love of the genre on one hand, but made me feel I had to choose it over Pop and suppress my love of it as a result.

But Pop at this time was starting to fuse with R&B, as "It's gonna be me" had done, which made it easier for me to just accept that I liked what I liked until I hit that point where I was like 'Fuck it!' and I truly reconciled with myself again and stopped caring.

Pop called out to me and said 'No, bitch. When you finally get to love somebody, guess what...it's gonna be me'. And I was like 'Cool'.