Review Summary: Deplorable and bland and forgettable, even with nostalgia factored in
The problem with *NSYNC's debut is not that they make disposable pop music; there really is a place in this world for catchy, bubblegum melodies. Nor is the problem that *NSYNC care about their image. Plenty of great musicians have a public persona to maintain. The problem is that *NSYNC is essentially only
image, no substance. Worse yet, their debut album was little more than a shadow of a far more consistent Backstreet Boys debut that *NSYNC attempts to mimic. For all of the problems Backstreet Boys had, at least they weren't pale imitators of another group.
*NSYNC has nostalgic value for millions, both the positive type and the negative type: It was cool to hate on Justin, Lance, and the other three back in the day. This is the type of music you fondly remember bashing. No matter your feelings and memories, though, *NSYNC is little more than generic soft dance beats with half-decent vocals. It doesn't just have filler, it's almost all filler. I challenge you to name a song off this album that's not "Tearin' Up My Heart."
It's sort of unfortunate the songs and sound of *NSYNC are so awful, because there really is a bit of talent in the group. They just didn't have any identity or vision, simply a desire to cash in on the teen pop craze. The only decent tracks on the album -- the frankly superior pop ballad "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You," the passable surfer-style tune "Thinking Of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)," and the infectious leadoff track, "Tearin' Up My Heart" -- are lost in a pool of drudge and blandness that gives the world of pop music a bad name.
If I have to pick a single worst track, it'd be gag-worthy "Here We Go," an absolutely non-veiled response to BSB's boastful dance tune "Backstreet's Back." It's a pathetic mockery of a decent pop track. Several other tracks would have also made sense as a "Worst" pick, but I honestly can't remember many of the others individually even though I just listened through the album for the first time in years to write this review.
Even with a few bearable tracks, don't waste your time with this deplorable moment in 1990's teen pop.