Do you guys remember how “It’s Gonna Me” was the best song ever? Allow me to refresh your memory.
It’s March of 2000. That Y2K bummer is still hanging over you, but there’s a bright spot on the horizon. *NSYNC’s second album No Strings Attached is released to record-breaking sales. Your best friend comes over with her freshly purchased copy. The two of you listen to the album in your unfinished basement, borrowing the CD player that your mom uses for treadmill workouts. After dancing around to the already-familiar beats of “Bye Bye Bye,” you don’t know what to expect. But wait — is it possible? The second song is even better!
This was the Golden Age of *NSYNC. Justin had his curly blonde mini-fro. The boys wore ridiculous articles of denim and brightly colored leather. They were still doing highly choreographed dances in various lines and V-formations. The video is worth viewing for the doll makeup alone. When they break out of their packages at the beginning? Be still my inner ‘tween!
However, there is one detail that makes this song a classic, and that is Justin Timberlake’s delivery of the word “me.” Or should I say, “maaay”? That afternoon in my basement, we listened to the song at least three times in a row, just to hear the slow build to his proclamation of “It’s gonna be maaay” around minute 2:18. JC plays it safe in the second verse because only Justin can pull off the complete butchering of a basic English word and make it sound genius.
Foolish child that I was, I preferred JC over Justin. My boy band favorites tended toward the second most popular member. I was too set on being different to pick the most popular, but the overt strangeness of the bottom three was also off-putting. That left me with the moderately handsome brunette who got his fair share of lead vocals. (What up, Brian Littrell?!)
Happily my tastes have evolved. So when “It’s Gonna Be Me” popped up on my iPod during another day of filing, I could appreciate it in a whole new way. Or should I say, “waaay”? The way it utilizes Justin’s star power without making his solo career seem imminent, a la Celebrity. The way it manages to be danceable and sweet at the same time. The way it reimagines the pronunciation of “me.” And with that, gentle readers, just watch and enjoy.