*NSYNC, known for their tween-friendly hits and PG-13 choreography, are hardly the go-to guys when it comes to anything provocative. However, there is without a doubt, one single song from their discography that will leave you a changed woman. If you'll recall, back in March of 2000, when the band released their crazily successful sophomore album, No Strings Attached, the zeitgeist had reached a boy band fever pitch. *NSYNC was at the height of their success (although, to be fair, *NSYNC continues to be the gift that keeps on giving...), and no one, it seemed, could coax any of them into revealing their relationship statuses. And despite the provocative nature of the now infamous "Digital Get Down" (which is basically about cybersex), the members of *NSYNC tried to keep it all very PG.
Said Justin Timberlake to an interviewer in a TV Guide article released in April of 2000 regarding tabloid rumors and the roughly 14 million times he was linked with Britney Spears in print: "I live with my mother [Lynn, in Orlando]. I'm not going to talk about it." And when the publication asked Timberlake whether he thought "the braces brigade" (aka *NSYNC's young audience) would "recognize the R-rated oomph" of "Digital Get Down," JT very thoughtfully responded, "For adults, [the lyrics] could be construed that way [but] I think it's quite safe sex if you ask me. What's the next question?" Joey Fatone, to this credit, butted in with a great point: "Think about the Spice Girls. The kids never knew what they were talking about."
But looking at these lyrics, I almost can't believe we were all singing along as tweens. Let's break down the lyrics line by line:
Baby, baby we can do all that we want
We're gettin' nasty nasty
We're getting freaky deaky
Baby, baby we can do more than just talk
'Cause I can hear ya, hear ya
And I can see ya, see ya
Isolated in context, it seems the lyrics have less to do with a flirtatious AIM chat than a decidedly raunchy video chat session. Question being, who the heck had video chat back in 2000? I, for whatever it's worth, had bigger fish to fry, what with trying to keep my Tamagotchi alive and learning all the choreography to B*Witched songs. Nonetheless, there's little room for interpretation with lyrics like,
Digital digital get down
Just what we need
We can get together naturally
(We can) We can get together on the digital screen
Unless, of course, the songwriters were actually referring to a collaborative Word document (animated paperclip included) circulating around regarding marketing for the band's upcoming tour, or perhaps just a really run-of-the-mill conference call.
In fairness, other choice lyrics are pretty clear that we're getting hot and heavy here:
I love the things you do for me so late at night
So turn me on yeah
I lose my mind just when you're speaking
I see you on the screen, I get to freaking
And let's not forget:
I get so excited when I'm watching, girl
I can't wait to see you touch your body, girl
Can I make some wild assumptions right now? As much as I'd love to say the song's lyrics are Justin's fond remembrances of a raunchy AIM chat he had with Britney Spears circa 1999, the song was in fact written by JC Chasez, Veit Renn (who has also written for the Backstreet Boys and Jennifer Hudson, among others), and David Nicoll (an actor and sometime writer who has also collabed with — get ready for a blast from the past — Blaque), 95 South, and Aaron Carter. Thus, the song is more likely a conscious move away from the kid-friendly creative demands of their management (enter marionette puppet imagery) than any especially notable remembrance of any infamous digital getting down between the late '90s most beloved celebs.
But if there's one thing we can be totally sure of, it's that "Digital Get Down" (which our parents somehow all let us listen to) was one thousand percent about raunchy cybersex. There are no if's, and's, or but's when it comes to that.