The year is 2000; you’re obsessed with your Razr flip phone, you spend more hours on AIM than you can count, TRL is your favorite TV show and *NSYNC is about to change the pop music world with their latest album No Strings Attached.
I remember the day that I discovered who *NSYNC was; my mother and I were in a store and as we strolled past the video section, the *NSYNC *N the Mix VHS tape caught my eye.
I had no idea who these guys were but I knew that I needed them in my life. I spent the rest of the time at the store begging my mother for the VHS tape. I bartered, I negotiated, I was annoying and she finally obliged. The rest is history. My pre-teen/teen years are held together by an *NSYNC-filled soundtrack; I memorized facts about them, I knew every single dance on every single one of their concerts, I daydreamed, I obsessed and I’m proud to say remnants of that love for them has followed me into my adult years.
When *NSYNC dropped No Strings Attached, I couldn’t fully comprehend how essential it was to that time in my life. Yet, as I review my memories of that time I can’t help but recall the many “Bye Bye Bye” dance breaks, the countless rewatching of their VHS tapes and the hundreds of times I convinced my father to play their tapes on long drives. Remember tapes?
Turns out No Strings Attached wasn’t only monumental in my life, but it also shaped the way that pop music existed. In late 1999/early 2000 bubble-gum-pop had taken over the music charts. The industry was bombarded with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera and of course *NSYNC. The genre was safe and easy radio play but when *NSYNC dropped No Strings Attached on March 21, 2000 that all changed. The album sold 1.2 million units in it’s FIRST DAY. By the end of the week, that number had doubled and nobody broke that record until Adele did with 25 in 2015. Now keep in mind, this was back when you had to go out and buy a CD, so these numbers were unprecedented.
Kids, a CD is … oh forget it, just google it.
Not only was No Strings Attached a record-holding album, but it’s content was full of ambitious ideas that cemented *NSYNC’s place in pop music history. The album birthed three of *NSYNC’s most impressive singles: “Bye, Bye, Bye created a historic dance, “It’s Gonna Be Me” helped create a meme that will just not die and “This I Promise You” reminded us that JC was always meant to be the lead. Don’t get me started.
More than that though, No Strings Attached confirmed just how innovative *NSYNC was. “It Makes Me Ill” felt inspired by R&B influences, “Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)” told of a world ahead of its time and”Digital Get Down”, which was penned by JC Chasez, felt futuristic and it’s subject matter steered *NSYNC away from bubble-gum pop. Lets not forget about the a capella “I Thought She Knew”, which made sure to confirm that *NSYNC had the vocal-chops that the other boybands lacked. I said it.
So whether you were a fan of *NSYNC or not, there’s no denying that Justin, Chris, Joey, Lance and JC made a historic impact on the world of music. So today, while we find ways to keep us entertained inside our homes, why not play No Strings Attached and have a “Bye Bye Bye”-themed dance party?
Happy 20 years of No Strings Attached.