Maybe it’s a sign of ‘NSYNC’s maturity, the reason they appear to have risen to the top of the teen pop class. Whatever the answer, having both Hugh Hefner (arm-in-arm with six Playboy playmates) and the 15-year-old Olsen twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley, of “Full House” fame) at their album release party Monday night at least proves that their demographic has widened.
Those were just a few of the celebrities joining the boys from Orlando, Florida, at the club Moomba on the eve of Celebrity’s arrival in stores, amid almost unreal expectations (not to mention whispers of vulnerability). Industry insiders predict the album to be a huge seller, though few expect it to top the record-breaking opening-week sales of 2.4 million achieved by ‘NSYNC’s No Strings Attached in March 2000.
Failure to do so will no doubt embolden the chorus of skeptics who have already begun proclaiming the beginning of the end for boy bands. Just ask 98 °, whose latest album performed weakly on the charts.
But ‘NSYNC were all smiles, as usual, Monday evening in West Hollywood, and who could blame them? Platinum albums are nothing to sneeze at, and Tuesday (July 24) they will play for more than 50,000 fans at the Rose Bowl.
“It’s one of the most prestigious places we play, and it’s always the best crowd,” band member Lance Bass said.
‘NSYNC are looking forward to the performance for another reason, as fans – at least those who pick up the album before the concert – will be somewhat more familiar with the song roster of Celebrity (see “‘NSYNC’s Celebrity: More Songs About Young Love”). “We’ve been singing the new songs at all our shows on this tour and the fans aren’t as into them because they’ve never heard them,” said the group’s Justin Timberlake, who brought his equally famous girlfriend, Britney Spears, to the party. “We wanna challenge our fans to learn all the songs before we play Tuesday.”
The band spent the rest of its face time with an overflowing media contingent explaining how Celebrity is quite the musical departure from its previous, lighter fare.
“We are who we are, but every musician wants to grow and I think people will see this with Celebrity,” JC Chasez said.
“Every song on this album is totally different from the next one,” Bass added.
Electronica guru BT, who worked with the group on the album, talked up the band’s new “cutting edge” sound while pointing out that ‘NSYNC’s playfulness doesn’t end with the album’s title.
“What’s so refreshing about these guys is that they don’t take themselves too seriously,” said BT, who became involved with ‘NSYNC after Chasez saw him perform in a club. “You get more attitude from a guy working behind the counter at Starbucks than you do from these guys. They’re just regular people.”
Of course, how many “regular people” party with Hef? The new, grown-up ‘NSYNC apparently are still attracting grown-up converts, such as actress and “Talk Soup” hostess Aisha Tyler.
“I’m a new ‘NSYNC fan,” Tyler admitted. “I was drawn in watching ‘Making the Video’ on MTV for that ‘Pop’ song. It’s a cool video and a cool song. I’ve been into them ever since.”