Think of late '90s/early '00s pop music, and chances are that one of your thoughts will be of *NSYNC. Formed by Lou Pearlman (the same guy who brought you the Backstreet Boys), *NSYNC first started out by touring in Europe before reaching world-wide fame with their album No Strings Attached. Formed circa 1995 with Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and JC Chasez, the band went on hiatus in 2003. In 2013, they briefly reunited at the VMA's, much to the delight of fans.In the end, they turned out to be pretty damn successful. No Strings Attached currently holds the record for highest opening week album sales in the US (2.4 million), they've sung with the likes of Aerosmith and Michael Jackson, performed at the Super Bowl and the Olympics, and have their own wax figures. Not too bad.Albums:
*NSYNC (1997-98)note Released in 1997 in Germany, and '98 in the US.
Home For Christmas (1998)
The Winter Album (1998)note Released only in Germany.
No Strings Attached (2000)
Tropes related to the band and their music
A Cappella: Their musical basis and a point of pride amongst the group, they were notable for regularly singing a cappella and for their five-part harmony arrangement, with JC and Justin as tenors, Chris as countertenor, Joey as baritone, and appropriately enough, Lance as bass. Their final television performance (prior to the 2013 VMAs) was an a cappella tribute to The Bee Gees for the 2003 Grammys. In addition, both Joey and Chris were members of (separate) a cappella groups before NSYNC formed.
"I Thought She Knew" closes out their second album, No Strings Attached, and they did an a cappella arrangement of "O Holy Night" for their Christmas album. They have also contributed an a cappella version of "When You Wish Upon a Star" for the DisneyMania CD series and have performed their a cappella rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the 2000 World Series and 2002 Winter Olympics.
Anime Hair: See the above image. They weren't shy about experimenting with different hairstyles and hair colors. Joey and Chris were more known for having bright hair colors and dreads and braids. Justin would bleach and grow out his hair and get cornrows before shaving them off. JC grew out his hair with different shades of brown and blonde. Even Lance, the most sedate member, would get in on the action with either bleached hair or different-colored frosted tips.
They're quite happy now to leave the experimentation behind and stick to their normal hair colors, although Justin is still known to experiment with his hair's texture.
It should be noted that despite the moniker, they were not pulled together by a record company and for the most part came together organically, all of them (except Lance) having already known each other before forming the group. As a result they don't quite fit into the typical boy band archetypes and there's a bit of overlap.
Breakup Breakout: Justin's solo career has still shown no signs of stopping, a full decade after the group's breakup.
While obviously not on the same level as Justin's career, JC was a judge on America's Best Dance Crew and does production work, Joey has a modestly successful career as a television host, Lance has a successful radio show on SiriusXM and is a gay rights campaigner, and Chris owns a production and recording studio.
Justin: We're the best rag-tag group of pretty boys on the planet!
Celebrity Endorsement: At the height of their fame, they did ads for McDonald's, Chili's, Verizon, and other endorsements in exchange for tour sponsorships.
Christmas Songs: The Christmas album Home For Christmas and the Germany-only Winter Album.
Cover Version: As required for any boy band or teen idol, they've done some covers. Conversely, "(God Must Have Spent) a Little More Time on You" was covered by Alabama with *NSYNC providing the backing vocals.
"Sailing" (Christopher Cross), with whom they performed for the 1999 Blockbuster Awards
"When You Wish Upon a Star" (yes, Jiminy Cricket's theme)
They often performed cover medleys, like their aforementioned tribute to The Bee Gees. Their tours have contained medleys consisting of songs by The Jackson 5, The Beatles, and The Temptations.
A Day in the Limelight: "I Drive Myself Crazy" is their only single in which someone other than Justin or JC is given a solo, with Chris singing the lead-in verse. (The European version of the song has JC singing Chris' verse, however.)
Joey and Chris share verses and lines throughout their first album and Christmas album and they both get a verse on "I Thought She Knew".
Their musical tribute to the 70s and 80s on their Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now tour lets Chris and Joey respectively sing lead.
Chris' falsetto is brilliantly showcased in "O Holy Night", "The Star-Spangled Banner", and their a cappella Bee Gees medley.
During the Atlantis Concert, a 2001 television special, each of the boys gets a solo during a medley with Tim McGraw, including Lance who sings the first verse of "Lean On Me."
Richard Marx specifically wrote "This I Promise You" for them.
JC was a guest vocalist for Basement Jaxx and BT. (BT did the production for "Pop" and JC returned the favor.)
Fake Shemp: During tour rehearsals, Joey was severely injured by malfunctioning equipment, which forced him to sit out most of the filming of the "Pop" video. He was filmed from the waist up and in sitting positions while their choreographer Wade Robson replaced him on full body shots of the band dancing.
Fun with Acronyms: JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, JasoN, JC. After original member Jason left, they nicknamed Lance "Lansten" as a joke so the acronym would still work. (It still works anyway, it's just the placement of the second "N" would now be in the middle of Lance's name rather than at the end.)
Funny Background Event: In the "It's Gonna Be Me" video, Lance is seen yelling "That's my box!" when one of the G.I. Joe dolls pushes one of the band's boxes off the shelf. The box is actually Justin's.
In the "Making The Video" for "It's Gonna Be Me", Chris makes faces and mocks JC behind his back as the latter is talking to the camera.
Towards the end of "This I Promise You" where they're all seated at a table, Joey is seen putting ketchup on his food while the others are singing. And in another shot, Lance and Joey appear to be having a conversation while JC sings to the camera.
In the American version of the "I Want You Back" video, the guys play pool and while the camera is on Justin, Lance, and Joey, Chris starts attacking JC with his pool cue.
Lance: I lived on a bus with Joey Fatone. It was literally… every 10 minutes. Even this weekend at [Chris's] wedding, he was doing fart jokes. You know, he’ll do a fart joke and add a real fart into everything. I've never heard of anyone filled with gas as much as Joey Fatone.
Melismatic Vocals: Justin and JC can be pretty guilty of this at times, especially on the ballads and definitely during live performances.
Meaningful Name: Lance Bass is, appropriately enough, the bass vocalist of the group. Doesn't quite fit, however, as his name is pronounced like the fish rather than the voice type.
Multiple Choice Past: There are a few conflicting stories as to how Chris first got in contact with Lou Pearlman, the most common one being him auditioning for the Backstreet Boys and not making the cut. Another has Howie Dorough of BSB, whom he attended college with, referring Chris to Pearlman after the Backstreet Boys were already formed. The "official" story, as documented by VH-1's Driven series, has Pearlman approaching Chris after catching him performing with The Hollywood Hi-Tones.
Another difference from their "official" backstory is Pearlman's claims that JC had once worked for him as a personal assistant. In addition, according to Lance's autobiography, Out of Sync, JC and Chris knew one another before NSYNC formed and it was JC, not Justin, who Chris first recruited.
New Sound Album: Their debut album was heavily influenced by Europop and soft rock. No Strings Attached steered them into a more hip-hop driven direction, while Celebrity further cemented their R&B, hip-hop, and garage influences. (Celebrity also foreshadowed the direction that Justin's solo music would be going.)
Nobody Loves the Bassist: Joked about, in regards to Lance. (Especially since aside from a spoken bridge, a cappella performances, and a single line on a Christmas song, he's never heard on their songs. Played straight with the press as any time he's tried something out on his own, he was met with derision.)
Chris: So in other words, Lance has his sexy voice and we have each other. Chris: Lance is our lucky charm...we have to remember him wherever we go, though.
For their charity basketball game event, Challenge For The Children, they each had jerseys labeled with funny nicknames for each band member...except for Lance's, which just had his name.
Nonuniform Uniform: When their stage costumes and public appearance outfits weren't clashing, they generally adopted an overall themed look with modifications for each member. Like so.◊
Overshadowed by Awesome: Justin's solo career and fame has eclipsed the band's, it does warrant a mention that they've sold over 25 million records, toured football stadiums, and No Strings Attached and Celebrity set the fastest first-week sales records in the United States with 2.4 million and 1.8 million, respectively. Those records have yet to be broken.
People Puppets: The cover of No Strings Attached and the concept of the "Bye Bye Bye" video.
Hell, their No Strings Attached tour opens with them dangling from the roof like puppets and dressed like patchwork rag dolls.
Spell My Name with an S: There have been so many different renderings of their name over the years that they finally had to comment on it on Twitter. Technically speaking, both 'N Sync and *NSYNC are correct. The first spelling was used throughout their time in Europe and they began stylizing their name as *NSYNC when they made their debut in the US.
Take That: The title of their second album, "No Strings Attached," alongside all of the "puppet on a string" imagery of the album art (and the videos for "Bye, Bye, Bye" and "It's Gonna Be Me,") came about after a rather nasty legal battle with former manager Lou Pearlman.
The general fan consensus of their Badass Boast at their VMA reunion was that it was a quick jab at One Direction and similar teen idols.
Technician Versus Performer: Justin (Performer) and JC (Technician). They're both the best dancers and the lead singers, but Justin had better stage presence while JC preferred to be more experimental. Justin full out admits that JC is the superior singer.
Dance-wise, Justin is actually a Technician, a singer who had to learn how to dance while JC was the Performer, a natural dancer who learned how to sing.
Teen Idol: Except for Chris, who was 23 when they first formed, they were all actual teenagers under the age of 20. (As in both Justin and Lance were under 18 and required parental supervision and tutoring until they were of age.)
Theme Tune Cameo: "Bye Bye Bye" plays in the beginning of the "It's Gonna Be Me" video.
True Companions: They were inseparable back in the day, and they all still remain good friends.
Aside from JC, who has a fear of needles, they all have tattoos commemorating their time in the band.
JC and Justin — who were friends since their Mickey Mouse Club days — are still good friends and the former has even contributed to the latter's work behind the scenes, and vice-versa, post-*NSYNC.
Joey made Lance the godfather to his kids.
They all attended Joey's wedding and were ushers for Chris's. Sadly, they were not invited to Justin's wedding, though they were invited to the engagement party.
Vocal Tag Team: NSYNC songs typically have Justin and JC handling the solo verses, with Chris regularly providing secondary harmonies for them and the other two relegated to the choruses. Chris is a distant third when it comes to number of solos, Joey having even fewer, and Lance essentially none. They were often criticised for this and compared to the rivaling Backstreet Boys, who gave every member at least one line in most of their songs.
"Sailing", "For The Girl Who Has Everything", and "Gone" are notable for having only one member lead the entirety of the song, with JC leading the first two and Justin leading "Gone".