'N Sync and Justin Timberlake
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'N Sync , 3/10
No Strings Attached , 4/10
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'N Sync, a vocal group from Florida whose age ranged from 17 to 27 when they debuted (Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, JC Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick), took by storm the teen-idol market that the Backstreet Boys seemed to control so tightly (they were launched by the same man, Louis Pearlman). 'N Sync (RCA, 1998) spawned two hits, I Want You Back and Tearing Up My Heart, although the band sounded like a parody of rhythm and blues vocal harmonies (but with a honest flair for the love ballads).

At the end of 1999 the band went through a costly litigation with their former employer but came out stronger. The single Bye Bye Bye skyrocketed to the top of the charts and the album No Strings Attached (Jive, 2000) sold in excess of one million copies just on the first day it was released, a record that made the Beatles look like obscure artists. It would sell about ten million copies by the end of the year.

Justin Timberlake went on to become one of the most famous pop stars of the 2000s, one of the most obnoxious white singers of all time who delivered some of the most ridiculous muzak of all time on Justified (2002), sculpted by the Neptunes, and FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), mostly created by producer Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley. Timbaland also shaped the shameless retro-soul excursions of The 20/20 Experience (2013) and The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2 (2013). Timberlake was widely considered divine punishment for those who had criticized Michael Jackson.

Pearlman died in prison aged 62 while serving a 25-year sentence for a multi-million dollar fraud.

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