20 August 2013

All or Nothing

Listening to: N'Sync, "I Want You Back." It's strange, but I've never seen this video. I wonder if it was as good back then as it is now.

It's rumored that N'Sync is reuniting this Sunday at the Video Music Awards. Is this a dream? Is this time travel? Am I barely twenty years old and back in college again? What is happening?! I know, what kind of grown ass people are still excited about N'Sync reunions?

My friends, that's who!

See, back in college, a lot of us danced together. Like in groups, on stage, for other people. We were always practicing, always hanging out, and (some of us) hugely neglected our studies. Was this the era where I had dyed hair, danced in camo, and wore giant pants? Of course. It was the late Nineties, what else were you supposed to do? One of our getups included raver UFO pants that could turn into a backpack. I mean, how handy is that? So yeah, that was my last year and a half of school. Dance, dance, dance.

Let's rewind back to the 1999 VMAs, when Britney Spears and N'Sync joined forces for a performance that blew our minds. Watch it here, right now. After years of grunge and alternative music and all that sullen stuff, teen pop was back. Boy bands were way back, everything old was new again. It was the Eighties redux with Britney versus Christina subbing in for Debbie versus Tiffany. And Backstreet Boys and N'Sync did their best to become New Kids on the Block. (Did NKOTB have any challengers? I can't even recall.) In my mind, this was a defining moment, my generation's Michael in 1988 at the Grammys. Okay that may be overstating it a bit. But still, it was real good okay?

To be honest, prior to this VMA performance, I had been a Backstreet man. I think all of America was. They had the better songs, they had the cuter guys, they held every edge over N'Sync. But this particular performance exposed their weakness: Backstreet couldn't dance. And N'Sync could. Like damn, N'Sync could dance. And then next year they did the TV head thing and killed it again, officially leaving Backstreet in the dust. Historical note: How funny is it that at the 1999 VMAs, JC is clearly the star, not JT? That would change just a year later, obviously.

Man, that Britney and N'Sync performance, I think I've seen it a hundred times. At least.

This XX Factor article that posits Justin may need this reunion more than his former bandmates is kind of true. I mean, Justin is real boring nowadays. 20/20 was not good. I don't care what you say. The Thicke album is better, the Mayer Hawthorne album is way better, and if you want some more blue eyed artsy pop soul, try out How to Dress Well's "& It Was U." The latter is from 2012 but I just started listening to Tom Krell recently and his Total Loss album was inspired by Janet's Velvet Rope. Sold. Justin is dones. Actually I take it back, I am intrigued by Justin's upcoming gambling movie, Runner, Runner, costarring Ben Affleck. But only because I'm irrationally hoping it'll be almost on par with Rounders.

The N'Sync member actually doing interesting stuff is JC Chasez. After showing off his collection of bow ties on America's Best Dance Crew, Chasez has been spending his time assembling an eleven member girl pop group modeled after the Japanese and Korean supergroups. I am not sure how I feel about Girl Radical, or their first single, a cover of Gwen Stefani's "I'm Just a Girl," but I'm gonna keep an eye on them nonetheless. I'm curious if America is ready for a pop megagroup.

This is probably nice timing and a great idea by JC as he's basically decided to just do a Making the Band without the cuts and eliminations. Since nobody really has to sing that much, and Auto-Tune is a thing now, why not just shuffle his members around? I guess I'm hoping it succeeds. The "radicals" name is terrible though. It seems dated and appending it to every member's first name makes it even sillier. I do appreciate that Girl Radical is decently diverse. They're like 3LW cubed. Plus an Indonesian/Asian.

While doing some obviously heavy research for this post, I came across this book, Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory. I think I need to read it immediately. It's not often you see Spice Girls and Michel Foucault in the same description. Catherine Driscoll previously wrote a critical introduction to teen films, which makes me believe that we are fated to be friends one day. Or I'll have to fly down to Australia to take a few classes from her. I mean, after this Sunday and the VMAs of course.

Since I'm here, I thought I better do a short compilation of some of my favorite dance videos. No wait, I better do this in a separate post because it could get awful lengthy. Also, I just found out this past weekend that the last Tony! Toni! Toné! is pronounced "to-nee" and not "tone." Whoops. I think I just got my Nineties card revoked. I can't even use my usual "But I'm a F.O.B." excuse because I was in this country for the Nineties. So embarrassing.