Release Year: 1998
I first got into Nsync after watching their Disney Channel concert special. Not too long after I got their debut album. I still have my original copy where I redid the back cover because broke. I’m not even kidding look:
Every now and then I like to put on their albums because they’re fun, but it’s not the same with their debut. This is one record I rarely revisit aside from the singles. That’s because it’s their worst one, which is to be expected from a boy band debut.
Let’s get one thing settled: this album is corny as hell. Cliche lyrics, songs about cheesy love and girls, and generic beats make the record almost laughable. But one thing that saves it from being absolutely awful is how fun most of the tracks are. The opening song “Tearin’ Up Heart” is still one of their best singles just because it puts you in a good mood. It’s one of those songs that’ll drive 90s kids wild when it comes on. The same goes for “I Want You Back.” Both songs are so irresistibly catchy it puts a big smile on your face and puts you in a good mood.
Songs like “I Just Wanna Be With You” and “Here We Go” are great pick me ups if you’re feeling down, but some of the songs are so cheesy they’re too much to handle. Most of the ballads are terrible 90s slow jams. Even as a kid I was never a fan of “For the Girl Who Has Everything.” The quality of the song can be wrapped up in the opening lyric: “You drive a pretty car/you know how fine you are.” The only notable thing about the track is how JC keeps elongating his notes as if he doesn’t have control over his vocals. Luckily, this was less of an occurrence on the later albums. Otherwise, this songs isn’t that memorable. I didn’t even remember how it went until it got to the hook.
“(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” is cheesy in its own right, but it’s tolerable. I used to think this was the most romantic song when I was little. Now, not so much. It’s sweet, but in a corny Hallmark greeting card kind of way. One thing the song is good at is showing off the band’s harmonies, which were pretty strong at the beginning of their career. I barely remembered “Everything I Own” until the chorus. It’s another one I never liked, especially since it has the cliched “breakdown” where one of the members speaks to you softly. Why did boy bands think this was a good idea from the 90s? Just about all of them did it, with Backstreet Boys being the worst culprit. And the “Sailing” cover? Yawn. Never liked the song and I still don’t.
Unlike the band’s other albums, this one hasn’t aged well. None of their songs can be considered timeless, but they don’t show their age that much. The same can’t be said about tracks like “You Got It” and “I Need Love.” The latter track is especially offending because it sounds like a 90s Euro dance song that was popular in the earlier part of the decade. The music is nothing but thumping generic techno you expect from groups like Snap and Ace of Base. It doesn’t even fit in with the rest of the album. It has to be their worst song.
One song that still puzzles me today is “Giddy Up.” As a kid I liked it because it was different and the hook was simple to remember. But the song is just weird when you think about it. With constant references to horses and a chorus of “Giddy up now/gotta giddy up, giddy up” it seems they’re using a horse motif to talk about a relationship, which is strange. Then comes the bridge where they repeat “Ride it/ride it/ride it/ride it/ride it/giddy up.” Are they talking about what I think they are? It’s a stupid song, but it’s still fun to listen to. Just try to forget one of them saying “We gon’ get dis crunk” at the end for no reason.
Listening to Nsync albums are always a fun nostalgia trip, but this one was kind of painful. It was great to hear some of my favorites, but midway through I remembered why I never dug out this album. Some of the songs are dull and forgettable. Others are so corny it’s hard to stand them for more than ten seconds. I don’t even think I listened to the album in full when I first got it. Nsync, similar to their rivals BSB, didn’t find their groove til their second album and it’s understandable. This is a band following record label orders and singing whatever songs are given to them, no matter how bad they are. But some of the album gave me warm feelings inside, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.