Life is full of complex and fascinating questions. What is the meaning of life? What happens after we die? When Bruno Mars was standing next to Taylor Swift at the 2013 VMA’s, why didn’t they give him a box to step onto? And lastly, what is *NSYNC’s greatest song?
I’ve spent the last 18 years casually listening to *NSYNC and the last two weeks excessively listening to *NSYNC. After immersing myself in their entire discography, my thoughts on the subject have never been more clear.
Now I’m on record (when I’m drunk at a brunch) as saying that I wholly believe The Backstreet Boys have more definitive hits, but there is a strong argument to be made that *NSYNC’s best five songs are better than The Backstreet Boys’ best five songs. Like, if “Bye Bye Bye” and “I Want It That Way” were in an MMA Cage Match fighting each other, I’m saying that there ain’t no lie that “Bye Bye Bye” would fuck up the melodic life of “I Want It That Way.” Bloodbath. It’d be ‘nothin’ but a mistake’ to think otherwise.
That doesn’t seem like too hot of a take does it? It actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The Backstreet Boys have 8 studio albums, while *NSYNC has just 3. Yet, when *NSYNC went in on a track, they went in on it. HARD.
I mean, just compare two of each band’s massive hits: “Everybody” by BSB and “It’s Gonna Be Me” by *NSYNC. The former peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the latter reached #1. Both are great, for sure, but which one inspired one of the most overplayed memes in the history of the internet? Pop on social media every May 1st and you’ll know exactly what I mean. It makes me want to mail Facebook into the sun.
So, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the entire discography of *NSYNC and definitively decide not only which song was best, but which one was worst, and how the rest fell in between. Prior to jumping into the list of their 39 tracks below, allow me to divulge the way in which it was assembled.
In order to avoid falling into a trap of just showing you a list of my personal favorite *NSYNC hits in order, each song was instead graded on its success in five unique categories: Strength of Lyrics, Vocal Performance, Musical Composition, Track Production Quality, and lastly, the “Earworm Effect,” which diagnoses each song’s inherent ‘catchiness.’ After each song was assigned points from 1 to 10 in each of those categories (10 being the highest), the totals were added up and convened in the list you see below.
So without further adieu, let’s take a peek into every single *NSYNC song ranked, worst to best:
39. I Need Love
38. Do Your Thing
37. Up Against The Wall
35. Giddy Up
34. I’ll Be Good For You
32. Everything I Own
31. I Just Wanna Be With You
30. For The Girl Who Has Everything
29. That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You
28. The Two Of Us
27. I’ll Never Stop
26. Something Like You
25.Thinking Of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)
24. Tell Me, Tell Me… Baby
23. It Makes Me Ill
22. Crazy For You
21. Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)
20. See Right Through You
19. You Got It
18. The Game Is Over
17. Just Got Paid
16. Just Don’t Tell Me That
15. Digital Get Down
14. No Strings Attached
12. Bringin’ da Noise
11. Here We Go
Honorable Mention: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
9. This I Promise You
7. (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You
6. I Want You Back
5. I Thought She Knew
One of the most underrated songs in their entire canon, “I Thought She Knew” is one of the rare opportunities where you get to hear everyone sing, from Joey’s Baritone and Chris’ Tenor to Lance’s, um… Bass. Yeah, Lance Bass is a Bass. This is peak comedy, folks!
4. Bye Bye Bye
Honestly at this point, the dance almost overshadows the song, and the song is quite good! That’s how good the damn dance is! It was nominated for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo, but lost. Sad! Seriously, can you believe *NSYNC has never won a Grammy? Very sad!
3. Tearin’ Up My Heart
This song is a perfect encapsulation of the 90’s, from its insanely, on-point harmonies to the drum-fueled, instrumental dance break that followed. Because every single song in the 90’s needed a dance break just so people could mentally prepare for how sad they were going to be a few decades later.
2. It’s Gonna Be Me
I could write a 14 1/2 page paper just based on my fervent emotional state upon hearing the opening chords of this song. Outside of just releasing an intensely enjoyable banger directly into our earholes, this song also provided us with the super-fun (and not unsettling at all) dance move of pretending that you were a leather-clad marionette that came to life for the sole purpose of dating a human woman.
There you have it! The band’s 2nd to last hit before disbanding, “Gone” peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is often considered the jumping off point for Justin Timberlake’s solo career. He both co-wrote, co-produced, and provided lead vocals for the song without splitting a verse with Chasez, as was typically done on a majority of their songs.
What do you think is the best *NSYNC song? Please feel free to tell me this list is utter garbage in the comments! I thrive on negativity! 🙂