Chris Kirkpatrick says NSYNC stood out from other boy bands because they embraced pop culture

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Friday marks the 25th anniversary of NSYNC‘s eponymous debut album, one of the bestselling albums of all time.

Chris Kirkpatrick spoke with ABC Audio at 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, about how he and his bandmates created their unique footprint when boy bands were all the rage.

“We understood who we were and we didn’t try to be anything that we weren’t,” Chris said, adding the only thing he and his bandmates wanted to change was the stigma around groups like theirs.

As for how they shaped the mold, Chris said, “Mostly it was us looking at it like, ‘What would we do to have fun? What kind of music would we listen to? What kind of clothes would we wear? What kind of shows would we want to go see?’ And that was it … everything we did, we did as a fan first.”

Another part of their plan was to embrace pop culture. “We were a pop band,” Chris said, but they still wanted to define what their style of pop was. “Bubblegum pop kept getting thrown in our faces … and I was like, ‘Man, this isn’t bubblegum pop … It’s darker than that. It’s like dirty pop.” 

Chris said that criticism led to Justin Timberlake writing the band’s 2001 song “Pop” with record producer Brian Transeau

“[It was] freakin’ awesome,” the singer winked. “It was still pop music, but it wasn’t your parents’ pop music.”

Chris continued, “We just embraced it. We just said … ‘We’re going to come out here and get in your face until the end. And you guys are going to be tired when you leave the shows.'”

He said the NSYNC song he wishes he had written is “I Thought She Knew,” off the No Strings Attached album.

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