Album Review: *NSYNC, “Celebrity” (2001)

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and admit right now that I’m a huge *NSYNC fan. And yes, I do love their songs, and think they were robbed every year at the Grammys (I mean, sure it’s an honour to be nominated, but it’s even better to win), and to be truthful, I did run out and buy the Celebrity album the day it came out.

*Review updated in November 2013.
But I’m not going to give this album 4-stars just because I love NSYNC. Celebrity is a great album, but it’s not perfect, so yes, even though I am a rabid fan, I’m going to step outside of myself and review this album objectively, all biases aside. It’s going to be hard, but I think I can do it. Or at least I’ll try…

(For those of you who don’t know, the boys of NSYNC are Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Joey Fatone. I’ll be mentioning them throughout the review.)

When Pop first came out, a lot of people were a bit unsure about how different NSYNC’s sound was. The guys teamed up with techno producer, BT, and created a beat that sounded different from most songs on the radio. Timberlake beat-boxes. The guys sing about having “ice” around their necks and music being called “dirty pop”. It’s different. It’s not your average NSYNC. It’s dirty (according to Timberlake and Wade Robson). I love it.

I’ve just mentioned Wade Robson, but I’ll give you a bit of background info on him. Robson is actually NSYNC’s choreographer, be he also does a lot of co-writing and producing (with Timberlake) on this album. Timberlake and Robson collaborated on title track, Celebrity, in which the boys complain about the things they have to deal with now that they’re celebrities. Oh, Cry Me A River (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). Anyway, the beat is what makes the song so awesome, and it turns out that Timberlake and Robson make fairly good producers.

The Game Is Over has a Pacman sample in the beginning of it! Cool! Anyway, it’s Chasez’s turn to produce this up-tempo track about a conniving girlfriend, and I have to say I love this song. An electronic voice in the background recites “game over” which gets a bit annoying, though. During a breakdown, Chasez gets a little aggressive, which I kind of like, and screams, “How could you think that you could do me like that?/Now the game is over!”

Some rights reserved by Mark Morgan Trinidad B
I’m a bit tired of Girlfriend, but when I first heard it, I loved it. The guys collaborate with The Neptunes here, for a R&B-inspired track in which the boys try to convince a girl to be their girlfriend. The beat is pretty infectious, and after a few listens you’ll be humming the chorus under your breath, too. NSYNC experiments with two-step- a style of techno/hip-hop music that originated overseas- on The Two Of Us.  This song is actually another one of my favourites on the album, probably because of the sweet lyrics and up-tempo beat. Chasez takes a hand in producing and writing this song as well.

I really love Gone. It’s probably my favourite NSYNC love ballad (my favourite NSYNC ballad is actually “Sailing, but it’s not about love, so I can say Gone is my favourite ballad about love). Timberlake takes over on this song, not only co-producing and writing, but also singing the entire song himself. The guys do come in to sing the chorus, but Timberlake does pretty well on his own (and surprisingly I still like Gone more than anything on his solo album, Justified. Hmm…). There are Latin guitars in the background that I love, and the song is just so dang sad and pretty. *Sigh*.

The title of Tell Me, Tell Me…Baby alone already made me hate the song. I mean, can we be any cheesier? Apparently, we can. This is one of the only songs on the album that just flat-out sucks (more on the other one later). The guys rely on pop-hit makers Max Martin and Rami, but the song just falls flat (and dies of respiratory failure) and ends up sounding like a scrapped Backstreet Boy song- which is not good at all.

NSYNC redeems themselves with Up Against The Wall. Much to my delight, Timberlake and Chasez team up to write and produce this hot dance track. As I mentioned earlier, the sound is different, as the guys work with two-step again, but the result is a hot beat that’s perfect for the club. Timberlake and Chasez also make a decent song writing team. This is probably the best up-tempo song on the album.

Brian McKnight produced Selfish, and it’s pretty obvious. The unfortunate thing about Brian McKnight songs are that they always sound pretty much the same, no matter if he’s singing it or someone else is. NSYNC adds their harmonies to this ballad, but even if McKnight wasn’t citied in the liner notes, you could tell he had a hand in the production of this song. It’s a sweet song, but it just has Brian McKnightwritten all over it. Meanwhile, the guys got Stevie Wonder to play harmonica on Something Like You, which is pretty cool. Anyway, Timberlake and songwriter Robin Wiley wrote this ballad. It’s a sweet song, but a bit boring. The guys do have some nice harmonies in it, though, and Timberlake and Chasez sound great.

Just Don’t Tell Me That is stinker #2. This song isn’t worse than Tell Me, but it’s pretty damn close. The derivate pop paint-by-colours’ music and clichéd lyrics just send it right down the drain. It’s a definite skip, and a waste of space (I would’ve enjoyed one of the import tracks, Falling, better than this!).

Thankfully, the album ends with Do Your Thing. This song goes on my list of my all-time favourite NSYNC songs. It’s an uplifting, mid-tempo track about following your dreams and doing the best you can do. It may sound a bit cheesy, but it makes me feel all warm inside, and that’s a plus. Again, the guys have some killer harmonies on this song just for those haters that still try to say that they can’t sing. The only downside to this song is the horrible rapping towards the end which we can thank Mr. J Moss for (who is also the writer and producer), but besides that, this track is awesome!
NSYNC is my favourite group, and Celebrity is every reason why.  The album is a collection of great pop tracks, beautiful ballads, and even the few duds do very little to drag the disc down.

Rating: 200px-4_stars.svg

Track List
1. Pop
2. Celebrity
3. The Game Is Over
4. Girlfriend
5. The Two of Us
6. Gone
7. Tell Me…Baby Tell Me
8. Up Against the Wall
9. See Right Through You
10. Selfish
11. Just Don’t Tell Me That
12. Something Like You
13. Do Your Thing

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbRwSI8yi1o]

*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.

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