photo & text by nacrowe
not gonna lie. i really hated 'NSYNC when they were an actual cultural concern. this was before JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE garnered an ounce of CREDIBILITY for his solo career and way before the CONTROVERSY about how he effectively left JANET JACKSON stranded at SUPER BOWL XXXVIII. i remember being being beyond annoyed with shows like TOTAL REQUEST LIVE on MTV that effectively pushed this drivel on my demographic. it felt INAUTHENTIC and so baldly MARKET-DRIVEN, which it undoubtedly was.
the pop cultural artifact that was the self-titled debut 'NSYNC record 'NSYNC (RCA, 1997) is effectively the end product of mastermind of the late DISGRACED 'record producer' LOU PEARLMAN, a FLORIDIAN businessman who saw an opportunity years earlier when the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK chartered his private jets around the country on tour. 'NSYNC (as well as THE BACKSTREET BOYS) was a vehicle to further his ponzi scheme (of which he was later took to court and incarcerated for) as well as a projection of a WARPED SEXUALITY. the dude was a PEDERAST and what he was very much involved in is something today called grooming.
which is to say that now when i hear these dated and overly-SACCHARINE pop songs, there is such a DARKER edge to them. what once seemed like overtly juvenile odes to puppy love (such singles as "I WANT YOU BACK" and "TEARIN' UP MY HEART") and the TRANSCENDENT nature of HUMAN SEXUALITY (from an assumed projected female perspective) now read like the stunted expectations of an insecure adult male projecting his deluded unwanted advances on that of young men who financially depend on him. its really quite sick, twisted and tragic even. as an adult i feel for all the young men that got caught up in PEARLMAN's web, as they were all performers who had a PASSION for MUSICAL THEATER, SINGING and PERFORMANCE. and this was their shot at stardom. they didnt deserve dealing with a influential PEDOPHILE. PEARLMAN was the worst variety of human PARASITE and i feel nothing but EMPATHY and SUPPORT for these guys now, knowing what i know.
i very much feeling like context is everything, even with a pop group like 'NSYNC. you very much never know what is really going on behind the scenes. never liked their music but that is besides the point. when i see how all these former members have SUPPORTED one another over the years, whether one was coming out of the closet or another was pursuing various business and entertainment projects, what is more than apparent is how much of a SUPPORT NETWORK is still there. a brotherhood even. and that LOVE and MUTUAL RESPECT is unquestionably AUTHENTIC. nobody can take that from them.
the fact that they came out intact on the other end is such a GIFT. i cant even imagine what they went through. and publicly.