They've achieved staggering heights of popularity thanks to their good looks, sweet voices, and outrageously manufactured image, so it's mighty tough to feel sorry for 'N Sync.
But it's obvious from listening to the teen pop heartthrobs' revealing new album that there is a downside to all the glitter and gold that comes with superstardom. At least that's what Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick would like you to believe.
“If I wasn't a celebrity/Would you be so nice to me,” is more than a lyric from the title track, it's an underlying theme to the entire album.
Timberlake cowrote the song, which takes a fearful look at the fame game, from the vantage point of someone who is questioning the ulterior motives of his friends, his lovers, and the sycophants around him.
That's one of the better cuts on the album, which marks a very slight improvement over the group's previous disc No Strings Attached. Despite plenty of cowriting credits for the bandmates, 'N Sync is still way over-controlled by its producers, leaving one to wonder where the band would be without the mountains of production tossed into tracks like the lead single “Pop” or the techno-tailored “The Game Is Over,”—which comes complete with Pac-Man samples.
They do take a few adventurous steps however, riding a funky, nearly hip-hop flavor on “See Right Through You,” one of several Celebrity songs to evoke the spirit of Michael Jackson, and they get surprisingly down 'n' dirty (what image-maker let this go through?) on the rapid-fire dance track “Up Against the Wall.”
'N Sync still hasn't proven for certain that the group's got staying power beyond typical teen idols, but there are enough signs of progress here to leave one thinking that more than any of its peers, the band has a shot to stay in it for the long run.