[HOT TRACK]A Boy Band's Coming of Age

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[HOT TRACK]A Boy Band's Coming of Age

"I'm sick of you little girl and boy groups, all you do is annoy me. So I've been sent here to destroy you," spewed bad-boy rapper Eminem in his number one single, "The Real Slim Shady."

At this verbal attack, 'NSync retorted, "The thing you've got to realize is that what we're doing is not a trend. We got the gift of melody, we're gonna bring it 'til the end," in their single "Pop," written by band member Justin Timberlake. 'NSync released "Celebrity," its third album, internationally on Monday.

Though 'NSync will never make music to please Eminem, the group is definitely one of the most successful pop acts. Their previous albums all sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone. Their second album, "No Strings Attached," sold more than one million copies the first day it was released and 2.45 million copies in a week.

Whatever Eminem has to say, the five members, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fantone and Lance Bass, have created popular dance music and established themselves as international celebrities.

Being a celebrity, however, can be sometimes painful, according to Timberlake, who sings, "If I wasn't a celebrity, would you be so nice to me?" on the second track, "Celebrity." The lyric is no more than the immature whining of someone who has sought out fame and now wishes to complain about it. But as far as the melody is concerned, the album generally remains true to 'NSync's style of upbeat dance music.

It's unlikely that 'NSync will be doing their dance moves when they are 64. And 'NSync seems to be well aware that they cannot be simply teen sensations forever - Timberlake took part in songwriting and producing, and they have taken steps to improve the quality of their sound. The R&B singer Brian McNight helped produce the 10th track, "Selfish," a ballad. Also, music legend Stevie Wonder played the harmonica on "Something Like You."

Compared to former hits like, "It's Gonna Be Me," the sound on the third release is not as easy to listen to, but it is refreshing to see the group challenge themselves musically. Jive Records, 'NSync's label, claims that 'NSync has finally metamorphosed from teen sensations to polished musicians, but this may be an overstatement. Yet their effort to stretch themselves is recognizable.

'NSync will begin a world tour in fall, but it has not yet been decided if the band will come to Korea.

by Chun Su-jin

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