Review Summary: *screams internally*
The boy band craze of the 90's is both one of the most famous, and infamous, eras in music. After All-4-One burst out with their smashing debut, the 1990's went through a massive boom in the commercial viability of young, teen, boy band singing groups. This is odd, but I consider myself a massive fan of that era of music. I grew up heavily on all of the boy bands of the late 90's including Backstreet Boys, LFO, O-Town, All-4-One, and Five. One group, however, remains my favorite of that time. That group was NSYNC.
NSYNC was founded by Lou Pearlman and Chris Kirkpatrick, when Chris approached Pearlman in 1995 about making a boy band. By the time their first album was being made in 1997, the group had consisted of Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, and Lance Bass. Their debut consisted of the usual realms of Dance Pop and Teen Idol Pop at the time, but it also had hints of R&B as well. It isn't any secret that R&B and boy bands went hand in hand, R&B's penchant for romantic, sensual singing and group harmonies made the genre a shoe-in for thriving boy bands with proper vocal training.
To be pretty fair about this album, many of the tracks fall horribly short of what they should have. Here We Go
is just disappointing as a Dance tune, with its beats going completely off track with the vocals. It also doesn't help that the tune interrupts the flow every 40 seconds with a pause harmony that ruins the flow. You Got It
has some of the worst use of synthesizers I have ever heard. The vocals are completely off of the rhythm and the synths are meshed together to the point it just sounds like one giant, annoying blur.
That doesn't mean it is all bad. The album has plenty of excellent R&B tracks like I Just Wanna Be With You
and For The Girl Who Has Everything
, which showcase excellent vocal talent from the five while also having a lot of great instruments and keeping the mood consistent throughout both tracks. One of the best slow songs on the record should go to the Christian-pop tune (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You
. The track has a simple triangle piece with momentary claps and small percussion in the background. The key to the whole tune is in scaling back the instruments and letting the singing do most of the work.
Of course the best track on the entire album goes to the massive hit Tearin' Up My Heart
; a crazy techno jam with some of JC's most on-time vocals. Any NSYNC fan will tell you that JC was the best of the group, as he showcased a vocal range few could even remotely match. In Tearin' Up My Heart
JC was given the most spotlight, but Timberlake did follow quickly behind. Runner up should go to I Want You Back
which follows the same guidelines as Tearin' Up My Heart
but goes slower and scales the beats to pumping rather than jumping across in a fast pattern; and the track uses a simpler and deeper base noise.
NSYNC completely took the boy band world by storm, and was one of the few bands to go toe to toe with juggernauts at the time, the Backstreet Boys. Who won that prospective rivalry depends on who you ask, but at the time, NSYNC became a phenomenon. Their debut album needed a lot of work, but it was a promising start for this young boy group.