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When the 20th century came to an end, the music industry was flourishing, profitable, in ways previously unbelievable. Sales were the best the business had ever seen with new releases $ 18.52 on average At the height of the CD era. The purchasing power of youth coincided with the political power of MTV Total claim live, a way out to vote for the artists of their choice, and their school rooms have exploded in their living rooms each day. And every day, one can safely assume that the conversation is dominated by one of the half dozen young pop artists.

1999 Backstreet Boys Millennium The record for the first week of sales was set at an all-time high of 1.13 million. Britney Spears beat that figure next spring – 1.3 million Wow … I did it again during its first week. They are impressive numbers, but they are nothing compared NSYNC:. When the boy band benefactor LP, No strings attached, dropped on March 21, 2000; it sold 1.2 million units at its first day. By the end of the week, that number had doubled to 2.4 million, a bar that no artist in any genre would clean. 15 years. And then, barely two years later, it's over.

Twenty years have passed since the popular story spread around No strings attached something like that goes. NSYNC burned bright and fast, one of the last artists to benefit so much from the industry bubble before its spectacular explosion. As the subsequent 9/11 audiences were embraced by edgier sounds, and internet access destroyed the power of industry, not only was it time for the idols to be pushed aside, but the pop began to crumble as a category. Its sounds become hybridized and democratized beyond recognition. . NSYNC's de facto front, Justin Asten Timberlake:it seemed as if the change of air was soon to be felt; his 2002 solo concert, Justified, landed in the pop landscape, whose overwhelming producers Neptune had already begun to shape their own image. As for the boys' orchestras, they will leave the radios until the boys One Direction:, The almost spiritual opposite of NSYNC, stumbled towards The: X factor a decade later.

No strings attached are so often called as a point in the economic timetable that it's easy to forget that you can hear it too. But when viewed for its material – its production of mentality, genre-expanding collaborations, videos and choreography that have made it as visual as audio, it tells a much more rewarding story than the numbers show. At a time when most pop albums were stuffed with spam to get killer radio singles out, No strings attached Overflowing with ambitious ideas and hints at where pop music and pop culture are headed.


Before: No strings attachedTimberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, Eyey Faton and JC Chasez were very popular if they weren't fully aware of their band. (This is immediately apparent on the cover of their anonymous 1997 debut, in which Chasez gets to the central hole rather Timberlake.) Early singles »I want you to come back"and"Tearin 's Up My Heart:"Midtempo soft-pop was with Ace of Base style production. the signature Swedish songwriter Max Martin and just a little more fun than the unnoticed love that Backstreet Boys had already screamed. Two groups sat side by side on Top 40 radio stations, slightly different.

Some confusion was inevitable. Both groups consisted of five boys, both based in Orlando, both working with the same writing group at Stockholm's Cheiron Studios studio, and both stopped in Germany before making a dent in the US. Behind the scenes both groups were led by the same puppet master, manager Lou Pearlman:, compete with each other. NSYNC state promotion stems from competitors: In 1998, the Backstreet Boys dropped out of a live concert for Disney Channel to have member Brian Littrell undergo heart surgery, so the new band came together to blow up the popularity. for almost one night. But as the NSYNC profile grew, so did members' awareness that Parlman was cheating them for their profits. In 1999, they began to separate from the people they had gathered. He sued, the band settled, and the lines were cut, not so subtle inspiration for the album that followed.

By phone from his home in Nashville, Chris Kirkpatrick remembers months leading up to months No strings attached. “The legacy for me is how scared we are. We had great success with our first album. We're on what is the biggest record in almost every band. Their second record, their preparation or break. , "he says," We would just change labels, we would go to war with Louis. … There was a lot of pressure on that record to be at least as good as the first record. That was our hope. And when that happened. It came out, a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. We couldn't believe the answer. "

Abandoning Perlman, the band gained greater confidence in the studio, wanting to collaborate with its producers in a new voice. Merge a new jazz rhythm revival, uptempo R&B: and: hip-hop worship. No lines The band was allowed to split from the competition with a genuine conscience of the genre, who would soon try to pop and rock top of the charts.


The sound of the new millennium, No strings attached begins with ironic hypocrisy. not to climb a string chrysanthemum that bleeds Justin Astin into Timberlake's nose, his fast-paced "Hey, hey" bursting into five-part harmony. "Bye Bye Bye:"Immediately different from the Loveick formula of the first album, the message with the lead single kiss hit hard, pop-trading for sexual self-confidence while maintaining the market level of the boy band's innocence. In other words, it was still pop, but dirty.

"It was not a conscious decision to be an empire. It was a conscious decision to want to stay on the rise, ”says Kirkpatrick. "I don't think we have ever considered ourselves that heavy ballad even on the first record. We loved uptempo (songs), we loved dancing, we loved high energy shows. It's hard to get a high energy show if you break it, and all the other songs are ballads. Basically we kept it pretty pop, quite danceable. "

Producing "Bye Bye Bye Bete" label scraper, its bright electronics add texture to the NSYNC silk vocals, further distinguishing them from BSB's delicate doo-wop. The song is arranged around the hard drums, the mix of the loud snare and the snare, as if maturing for a trap remix. Here and elsewhere, No lines accepted tricks from folk, hip-hop and dance music that NSYNC peers did not study. The album is filled with sharp, stacked "stabs" – a declarative note or chord that punctuates the musical expression and anticipates the next – and synchronized rhythms by the types of guys who promote today's boy orchestras, particularly Korean pop, which depend on them. aesthetic in street style. (See BTS, "Black swan.))

“Before that there were really live tunes. We all loved American R&B and hip-hop; that was all we listened to. We wanted our stuff to sound like this, ”says songwriter ake Ei Schulze, speaking on the Swedish phone. “Of course, it wasn't close. But it was so in our world really close. "

One of Stockton's Cheiron Studios graduates, who recorded many of the Y2K-era teen pop hits, Schulze was one of the co-authors and co-authors of "Bye Bye Bye". “We used different keyboards and mixed different sounds. One of my friends said when he first heard the mix, "Oh, I could count 75 stroke sounds." It was the beginning of knives. " Schulze originally wrote the song with collaborators Christian Lundin and Andreas Carlson for the Boys of the Five Five, who decided not to publish it. NSYNC was also hesitant at first. Not long after the word "Until you dare to be stupid / Another word from another player in your game", the Cheiron team wrote a rap to fill out the song choir, which the band refused, perhaps knowing that another raping a white boy it filled a lot of space TRL: already

But even if it wasn't, NSYNC had pipes for hip-hop rhythms and sensibilities to perform pop songs. Composers Candy Burroughs and Shakespeare are part of the team behind TLC.No scrubs, Investment » No lines follow »It makes me sick. "(Years later, that song would be the basis for"break up with a girlfriend, I'm bored"By Ariana Grande, who brought out Timberlake's lack of NSYNC to help sing it in her 2019 Coachella performance.) Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)"Features TLC's Lisa's" Left Eye "floats on itself. Before the paintings were needed for pop acts in the competitive music market, NSYNC had begun mirror hip-hop searching for cross-genre collaborations, even linking to a crusader Latin original. , Gloria Estefan: «Music of my heart“At the end of 1999.

"Nelly … we sang with Phil Collins … we sang with Stevie Wonder. We did a whole bunch with Team McGraw, ”says Kirkpatrick. "We always thought, 'The next thing we can do.' "Trying to play the whole gamut of music."

Even more than his voice, one thing the band separated a few miles from the competition was its dancing. "It was a challenge for us to be the band that goes out there and does a couple of step-by-step, rotating the microblogs and doing the five-part harmonies," Kirkpatrick says. "(It was more like), 'Let's do the five part harmonies and: go dance to the balls on the wall. " "That's why they turned to star choreographer Darrin Dwight Henson.

"I remember teaching Austin to pop what the world called 'popup and shutdown', but it was blowing, and how can you slip it like Michael Ackson did," Henson recalls by phone. In 2000, Henson made his name as a "choreographer of the moment", working with pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Ag Aged Edge on the current pop channel, as well as on New Kids on the Block and Color Me Badd during the previous one. “I was very familiar with the boys' bands, but I was giving NSYNC movements that no one else had. I knew early on by studying The Jackson 5 that you could sing, but until you danced, you weren't going to control the crowd. "

Like "Thriller" or "Lonely Ladies," Bens Bye Bye for Henson's Choir included some special, easily imitated moves that became indispensable parts of the song's identity. Crooked three-fold hand wrap, which he calls "puppet hand". "And a set of fist pumps. The New York native says he painted his Bronx b-boy roots for inspiration. "When you were tired of hearing someone talk, we used to say, 'Stop talking ***,' and it was like a doll's hand. And the fist is really the fist of Black Power, the source of power. "

The NSYNC rehearsals of black art were mostly about any open discussion of race, though perhaps no more than most pop culture at the time. ("They had a stronger voice," explains Schultz in the symbolic language of the 90s. "They were more" basketball "than" girl-meets-boy and fell in love, ") so it was a little rude. great guys:)) But Henson says he feels he can trust the group to respect the work. “They had an honest appetite for the people that came before them. If someone were to feel like it was dirty, I would never do it, "she says.

"We didn't see it as black and white," he adds. "We were just boys."

NSYNC knew the value of diversifying its listeners, not just genres, out of a desire to match its voice. The single "This I Promise", shot by Richard Markle, an icon of the 80s, ensured that the album also reached a larger audience. "I would never have thought of writing young," says Marx two decades later. "It turns out that this song never became such a wedding song and such a hymn for couples." This I promise "hit 1. Billboard& # 39; Adult Modern Table, where 13 weeks have passed. The goal of reaching as many listeners as possible is to explain how throws like Marx's ballad and ny Camp's new jockey pendulum classic "Just Got Paid" side by side with "Digital Get Down", a frankly amusing air of cybersex, He went to coded gymnastics with the rest of the boys in the era. how The New York Times review that year it says: "It's the key to long-term pop sales. Young fans are in a hurry to buy the album right away, and the big ones are waiting for it to come in. "


If: No strings attached If it was the pinnacle of industry, the resulting crash would be no less dramatic. As customers moved from $ 20 discs to free, not-so-legal stuff on peer-to-peer networks like Napster and LimeWire, there was a sense that teen pop was also at its peak. "We came out of the trend when we came out," Kirkpatrick says. "And then the trends are caught, because that's what the trends are doing."

NSYNC released their third album in 2001 Known for: – which made it even harder to rely on R&B, firmly endorsed Timberlake as a bandmate and made Chase's powerful pop vocal to the outskirts. A year after that, the band announced an uncertain uncertainty, which turned to certain as it gained a Timberlake solo career. In later years, other boy bands of the era reunited as male bands, working on nostalgia or adapting their new material to an aging audience. (The Backstreet Boys releases six albums) Millenniumslowly slowing down soft pop rock). But NSYNC, except for a handful of one-off shows, is a thing of the past.

And yet, the band is engraved with a belt No strings attached couldn't be more relevant in today's pop market. Swedish Pop Art Union with R&B and Hip Hop Stream and Jump. desire to explore mature themes and styles. an understanding that dance and visual representation can turn stars into icons. There is a reason "This is what I promise you" has become a wedding staple, "Bye Bye Bye" has become a modern karaoke classic and "That will be me"Has become a meme that appears, like a clock, every April 30th. The band has lost its place in time for the harmonies and production and the movements that will make it a test.

"It's something that won't go away," Schulze said, referring to it Without strings legacy “When you go out, the day you leave the country, you know that something has happened. And then, "he laughs," goodbye. "

Maria Sherman is a senior Jez Jezebel contributor and author of the book Bigger than life. History of orchestras from NKOTB to BTS.

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