Clearly the work of the devil. Resisting temptation, there will be no reference to corporate plastic marionettes here. Nor will there be any suggestion that rope would be a better material to attach to the evil N Sync, who, with their dire sub-Backstreet Boys twaddle, packaged in plastic, attempt to exploit the meagre pockets of the teenage market.
Not until, that is, the musical content has been given the thorough mauling it deserves.
'Digital Get Down', one of the songs for which the band get a co-writer credit, is particularly tragic/comedic, with it's vocoderised voices and modem sounds. Give them enough rope.
There are over twice as many different songwriters credited on this album, and Lisa 'Left-Eye', you should be particularly ashamed of yourself, for 'Space Cowboy Yippie Yi Yay'. Things have come to be in a pretty terrible state when a song by Richard Marx (ask your history teacher) comes to be the highlight on any album.
The only sign of hope comes in the sleeve notes, where, in between copious religious dedications, JC (the one who looks like he's been all the way through puberty) tells of the battles and struggles the band had to get this album out. To those who fought the good fight, we salute you.
The third album from 'N-Sync finds them navigating the delicate terrain between the squishy pop regularly expected from boy-band superstars and the vaguely edgier sort of hip-hop that will presumably allow them to have a commercial future once the teen pop craze goes the way of all flesh.
The band's third release, No Strings Attached cheerfully careens between soft-focus love songs and tracks that delve further into hip-hop than most boy bands would dare to tread. In their own, awkward way, 'N-Sync's relatively newfound reliance on hip-hop grooves is an assertion of independence (the title, one suspects, refers to more than their recent label woes), though given the current commercial prominence of the genre, they're not exactly going out on a limb. None of the groovier tracks seem particularly assured (one of them, the Left-Eye-guesting "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)," is as awful as its title suggests).
There are tracks that approach 2gether-like parody, sound effects galore (one of which is the sound of a modem connecting, suggesting there are very few trends the boys won't milk), thinly done vocals, and lyrics that almost always find the band broken-hearted or on the verge.
While 'N-Sync has yet to find its own version of "I Want It That Way," the Backstreet Boys' track that showed the band was capable of a sublime pop moment, there's much on No Strings that's simply fine, like lead single "Bye Bye Bye," which, does little different than those who have come before it but does it well, including the title track, which, like the rest of the record, labors hard to be winsome, and ultimately succeeds.
With their long-anticipated second set, pop music's "other" major boy band aims to prove that there's room for more than one clique of teen dreamboats at the top of the charts. Actually, "No Strings Attached" shows 'N Sync effectively revealing a looser, more uptempo sound than that of its competition. The unshakable single "Bye Bye Bye" is indicative of the set's rhythmic tone. Among the many highlights are "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)," on which the lads float their markedly matured vocals over a flavorful guest rap by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and an arrangement of crazy/catchy percussion, and a hip-thrusting cover of Johnny Kemp's '80s R&B/dance hit "Just Got Paid." On the softer side, expect maximum radio play for the deliciously old-school "I'll Be Good For You," with its soft shuffle beat and sweeping strings. Throughout, the lads' harmonies are tighter and more developed than in the past. "No Strings Attached" is destined to keep the teens--and more than a few adults--squealing with delight.