You know that feeling you get when you consume pop culture of some kind that you loved when you were way younger, and you're like, "How did I love this?!" Whether you discover previously unnoticed double entendre, a term you didn't understand at the time, or a dirty joke that just went straight over your head, a second look through those old favorites is usually ... ahem ... pretty revealing. This is exactly how I felt going through boy band songs recently. It turns out that there are a lot of dirty *NSYNC lyrics that I misunderstood as a kid. There's nothing on the same level as Britney Spears' "Touch Of My Hand" — after all, she's the master — but there was some stuff I definitely didn't catch the first time around!
Some of it is vaguely sexual phrasing that was designed to appeal to a wide swath of the population. Some of it is aggressive phrasing that I hadn't remembered being a part of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick's repertoire. And some of it is just plainly about boners. So open up your adult eyes and take a fresh listen to these lyrics, because you're definitely gonna come across some surprises!
1. "You've got no choice, babe / But to move on, and you know / There ain't no time to waste / You're just too blind, to see / But in the end, ya know it's gonna be me / You can't deny / So just tell me why / Every little thing I do / Never seems enough for you" — "It's Gonna Be Me"
Remember when a boy sang at us that we had no choice but to be in a relationship with him, and at the time, we thought it was really romantic and not creepy and sexually aggressive in a really uncool way?
2. "Your love is like a river / Peaceful and deep / Your soul is like a secret / That I never could keep" —"God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You"
As an adult, I've gotten savvy to the fact that if you're describing "my love" as a deep, peaceful river, then what you probably actually refer to is my vagina.
3. "It's tearin' up my heart when I'm with you / But when we are apart, I feel it too / And no matter what I do, I feel the pain / with or without you" —"Tearin' Up My Heart"
If you're feeling the same amount of pain whether I'm there or not ... that's probably a boner, right?
4. "Baby, I would give you love / The kind of love that you've only dreamed of, yeah" —"No Strings Attached"
Wet dreams! Specifically, wet dreams about puppet sex, if we're gonna base anything on the video that went along with this song.
5. "Baby I remember / The way you used to look at me and say / Promises never last forever / I told you not to worry / I said that everything will be alright / I didn't know than that you were right" —"I Want You Back"
Wait, so no promise ever lasts forever? So you guys don't believe in love?! Does that mean every *NSYNC song is really just about sex? DOES IT? How did I miss this?!?
6. "Do you ever wonder why / This music gets you high? / It takes you on a ride / Feel it when your body / Starts to rock" —"Pop"
In the cold light of adulthood, I can tell that this music will get me high and give me an orgasm. GUARANTEED.
7. "I wanna drown in your love / Lead me to your water / Let it flow, (let it flow) / Just let it flow, baby / My love is insane / Pleasure and pain / It's part of life / So live it up baby" —"I Just Wanna Be With You"
Yes, "lead me to your water" is the weirdest proposition of sex I've ever heard, but it certainly seems to be one!
8. "I'm staring at your picture every night / The scent of you still lingers in my mind" —"If I'm Not The One"
Well hello there, masturbation reference!
9. "Well it's not far down to paradise / At least not for me / And if the wind is right you can sail away / And find tranquility / Oh, the canvas can do miracles / Just you wait and see / Baby believe me" —"Sailing"
10. "I can be good for you / Tell me what you want to do / Baby girl, it's plain to see / That our love was meant to be" — "I'll Be Good For You"
11. "I lose my mind just when you're speaking / I see you on the screen, I get to freaking / So get down babe / And I'll get down for you (I'll get down for you) / I get so excited when I'm watching girl / I can't wait to see you touch your body girl / It's just me and you / So we can do what we gotta do (yeah)" —"Digital Get Down"
I mean, THE NAME OF THE SONG ALONE. This one was about sexting and cybersex so hard that I can't even believe I missed it. I mean, it has the term "freaky deaky" in it. I'm embarrassed.
12. "Bring along the mistletoe / Keep the music nice and low / I'll show you how good it could be / I wish that Santa could be here to see / It's beautiful / Under my tree" —"Under My Tree"
Not sure what we're getting at here, given that this is a Christmas song. But whatever it is, it's filthy.
So how do you feel remembering how gleefully you sang along to all this back in the day? Like you need a bit of a shower and a time machine so you can go whisper some truths in your younger self's ear? Yeah, same here.