Album Review: *NSYNC, “*NSYNC” (1998)

I was looking through my CDs today, when my eyes landed on Nsync’s self-titled debut album. I was thrilled when the memories started rushing in; being in junior high school, listening to their songs in my room (adorned with Nsync posters, of course) and practising the choreography I’d learned from watching their music videos repeatedly.

So yes, I’m going all the way back to 1998; before Justin Timberlake tried to bring sexy back, before Lance Bass was (openly) gay, when people still cared who Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and JC Chasez were, and when ‘N Sync was still my favorite boy band.

The disc starts off with one of the album’s first singles, Tearin’ Up My Heart. You’d probably instantly recognize this song as it begins with the synthesized background music (which sounds like one of the default songs on a Casio keyboard or something), and the guys harmonizing at the beginning. The lyrics are generic and about love gone wrong (“It’s tearin’ up my heart/When I’m with you/And when we are apart/I feel it too”). It’s a stereotypical late-90’s pop song.

Producers Full Force add a bit of “R&B flavor” to I Just Wanna Be With You, a mid-tempo track where we get a lot of singing from Chasez. I actually still like this song. The beat is pretty catchy, and Chasez honestly does have a nice voice. Here We Go kicks things up a notch, as they boys provide somewhat of an anthem for the group (yes, an anthem. The chorus consists of “Yes, yes, yes/Here we go/Nsync has got the flow!”). Yes, this song is very catchy, but after a few minutes the chanting in the chorus becomes very boring and unnecessary.

We reach ballad territory (cause every good boy band needs half of their CD to be filled with ballads) with For The Girl Who Has Everything and God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You. Besides both having ridiculous long titles (alternatively, you can shorten them into unrecognizable acronyms like FTGWHE or GMHSALMTOY), both are a bit on the cheesy side, with more harmonizing and solos from Timberlake and Chasez. Girl isn’t so bad; Chasez’s vocals again are really nice and the harmonies are great. Timberlake starts off Little More Time On You, and I immediately realize just how young he sounds (of course, he joined the group at 16). The lyrics are the cheesiest during this song, especially the lines from the chorus- “Your love is like a river/Peaceful and deep/Your soul is like a secret/That I never could keep/When I look into your eyes/I know that’s true/God must have spent a little more time on you”.

You Got It and I Need Love are two of the most annoying songs on the album (and I Need Love might be the most annoying song, period). You Got It could be fun, but the chorus becomes really repetitive after a few times around. I Need Love is a really bad techno song; there’s too much production, the lyrics are horrible (the whole chorus is “I need love/You need love/We all really love/All I want/All I need/We all really need love”), and even the guys’ vocals come off sounding corny.

One of the other lead singles from the album was I Want You Back. I don’t care what anyone says- this is still a great pop song. The catchy beat and chorus make it impossible to forget, and the guys all sound great. Plus, there was that fun music video where the boys hung out and played basketball and pool together (which is also included on the CD). Remember?

The ballads make a return with Everything I Own and I Drive Myself Crazy. Everything I Own is actually a remake of an old Bread song that surprisingly works well. The song is a bit on the boring side, but again, lead vocals from Chasez and Timberlake make the track worth listening to. I Drive Myself Crazy was another single, and here, Kirkpatrick finally gets the chance for a solo as he sings the first verse of the song. The song is actually quite sweet and is still one of my favorites.

Crazy For You is a track that could’ve been left off the album. It sounds similar to I Want You Back and Tearin’ Up My Heart, but isn’t nearly as catchy as either of those songs. I remember liking this song when I was a big Nsync fan, but then again, I liked all their songs when I was a big Nsync fan.

I recall my favorite Nsync ballad being Sailing, and I have to admit that it’s still a beautiful track. The song starts off with some of their trademark harmonizing and then fades into a solo from Chasez. Sure, the song is a bit cheesy (and what could you expect from a Christopher Cross remake?), but it’s very relaxing, and again, the harmonies are flawlessly done.

The album ends with Giddy Up, a song so ridiculous that I’m not even sure what to think of it. I think the song was supposed to be “hip hop”, but it doesn’t really work, and producer Veit Renn should be ashamed of himself. The guys try pretty hard at sounding like they’re “ghetto” and have some “street cred” or something…Timberlake even shouts out towards the end, “We’re gonna get this crunk!”. If you ignore how silly this song is, the chorus and bridge are pretty catchy, but really, this song is even less necessary than Here We Go.

So Nsync’s debut CD is as good as can be expected from a boy band; lots of catchy pop songs, love ballads, generic lyrics, and nice harmonies. Now excuse me while I pretend to be back in junior high and dance around my room to I Just Wanna Be With You.

Rating: 2_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. Tearin’ Up My Heart
2. I Just Wanna Be With You
3. Here We Go
4. For The Girl Who Has Everything
5. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You
6. You Got It
7. I Need Love
8. I Want You Back
9. Everything I Own
10. I Drive Myself Crazy
11. Crazy For You
12. Sailing
13. Giddy Up

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZi_7t__cJk]
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