Dirty Pop Saved My Soul

Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Nsync

When I was 16 years old, the age when most girls listen to music that they later regret, I had reasonably good taste. I was hip, I was cool, I was alternative. I listened to gangsta rap from groups like NWA, I’d wag school and go and hang out in the park with my friend listening to Sonic Youth on her Walkman. None of that teenage pop music for me, thank you very much.

Then ten years later I was in Sydney walking around Darling Harbour, doing a little bit of sight-seeing. I walked past the Imax theatre and something caught my eye. A large poster proclaimed “NSYNC: Bigger Than Live!”. Yes, that’s right. It was an Imax movie of an Nsync concert. This excited me, so the next day I went back and saw it and something changed in me.

I’d never really paid much attention to Nsync before. I’d had a passing interest in fellow boyband the Backstreet Boys, but the only thing about Nsync I knew was a few lines of choruses and that The Face magazine said they weren’t very charismatic.

But seeing that concert movie, seeing them singin’ and dancin’, I found myself liking them. Really, really liking them. This scared me. I tried to fight it, tried to deny it, but it was still there: Nsync excited me.

Back in Melbourne I was idly looking around in a record store. I found myself browsing in the “N” section. Somehow – and I don’t have any conscious recollection of doing this – I ended up buying “No Strings Attached”. That was going to be it, but a few hours later, in another record store, I found myself buying Nsync’s latest CD, “Celebrity”.

I listened to them both a lot. “No Strings Attached” has a few tracks which always get skipped, both ballads, one by Richard Marx, the other by Diane Warren. But other tracks delighted and even shocked me. One of my favourites is “Digital Get Down”. It’s a lame title, but the song is essentially about cybersex. The idea is that there’s this dude who lives away from his girlfriend and he watches her masturbating on her web cam. They also have phone sex. Try listening to that song in bed, in the dark, at night. It’s interesting.

I totally love “Celebrity”. There’s only one track I don’t like all that much, it’s a ballad with guest harmonica from Stevie Wonder (confirming that he’s never done anything good since the ’80s). But every other track is pure pop heaven. Even the big wedding ballad is ok. It’s dirty pop, a recently coined term to describe what I guess is pop music but with an edge (doesn’t that sound lame?).

On “Celebrity” Nsync have written or co-written over half the songs on the album and they don’t suck. One I really like is “Game Over,” which samples sounds from Pacman (how cool is that?). There’s also “Up Against The Wall” which is about seeing a fine young lady at a night club and humping her. There’s also “See Right Through You,” which includes the lyrics “These games they gotta stop/About to get pissed off”. Humping, moderately bad language, it’s all there.

Hey, I know all their names! There’s Justin (Britney’s boyfriend), JC (the really hot one), Lance (the serious one), Joey (the goofy one) and Chris (the funny one). Chris is my favourite. I think it’s important to have a favourite.

So it’s come to this. I’m 26 years old and I like Nsync. I sort of came out as an Nsync fan at Fray Day in Melbourne. I’m taking a further step here by again admitting my love for Nsync. I can not keep it a secret any longer.

It might be really uncool to admit this, but, hi, my name is Robyn and I am an Nsync fan.

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