This week, I’ll be writing about some a cappella songs I like. I’m sorry this week doesn’t have a catchy tagline like “Get Pitch Slapped.”
In the classic *NSYNC vs. Backstreet Boys battle, I’ve always fallen on the *NSYNC side despite being a fan of both groups. Though this preference has always been a gut-check instinct, *NSYNC had a skill lightyears beyond similar boy bands of the time, and really ahead of most pop groups in the history of recorded music: recording heart-melting slow-dance-style ballads.
This conclusion, that their ballads are their defining characteristic, might seem odd if you haven’t spun the records recently: *NSYNC has always been more famous for their upbeat numbers than their slow jams. Mistake, in my mind: these fellows recorded two or three ballad stunners per album. So despite an abbreviated career (only three albums), there is an impressive catalog of *NSYNC heart-obliterators.
My all-time favorite *NSYNC song is probably “This I Promise You.” Not exactly a surprise: According to Spotify, it’s the band’s third most-popular track, and second most-popular non-holiday track.
Not far behind it are several other tracks. Here are five others approximately in this order: “Something Like You,” “I Thought She Knew,” “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You,” “Girlfriend” and “Selfish.”
I want to give a special shout out to “I Thought She Knew” among that pack. It has a lot of sentimental value for me: the discovery of a great a a cappella track when I didn’t have much of the genre made it an instant favorite. From the track’s outset, the band’s typical expressive harmonies and charisma are exceedingly obvious.
I also love the songs role in the bands story. This was one of the songs *NSYNC auditioned with… and it’s basically an avalanche of the band’s strengths: charm, chemistry, and raw vocal talent.