Not to be confused with the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" or Jamiroquai's "Space Cowboy," “Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)” is one of 'N Sync's best songs. Period. Yet somehow, somewhy, track number three from No Strings Attached did not make The Essential ’N SYNC cut. SOMEHOW, SOMEWHY, the surprise two-disc album omitted the very essential piece of genius that is “Space Cowboy" from the list.
There are other oversights (gemstones like “Just Got Paid,” “The Game Is Over,” "Digital Get Down," and “Makes Me Ill” are no where to be found) that have me shaking my fist at the n00bs who cobbled together this group of "essential" songs, but I am gnashing my teeth over the album’s lack of yippie-yi-yays.
I've convinced myself that the folks who made Essential happen are either trolling 'N Sync fans or have never listened to “Space Cowboy.” Any other explanation falls apart at the seams, because to hear “Space Cowboy” is to know the meaning of life. Or something like that. THE SONG IS GREAT, OKAY?!
Also, what the HELL is up with Disc 2?!?! The weak sauce levels are off the charts. Ugh, this album is about as essential as a kick in the face.
HNNNNNGH SO MUCH BRILLIANCE.
Here are a few of the reasons the work of art that is "Space Cowboy" should never be overlooked:
THE SPOKEN INTRO
At the top of the intro, the Space Cowboy robo-narrator hits us with a relatable plea:
I wanna be heard
Don't we all? But then, spoken intro takes a turn:
And the future looks bright/Especially when we rip in half
I've yet to figure out what that means. This song is an enigma.
IT SOUNDS LIKE THE FUTURE
"Space Cowboy" is 14 years old yet it still sounds like a song that was added to my iTunes library by an intergalactic time traveler. I think it's all of the laser and space ship noises.
THE Y2K SCARE THEME
Here it comes, Millennium/And everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout Jerusalem/Is this the beginning or beginning of the end?/Well, I’ve got other thoughts, my friend
2000's No Strings Attached was recorded the year preceding its release. Though "Space Cowboy" sounds like a song from the year 3015, the lyrics were very much influenced by the Y2K paranoia hovering over 1999.
But "Space Cowboy" is a song about not letting the Y2K scare get to you. Take matters into your own hands! Don't waste your time fearing the possibility of the world coming to an end! Blast off into outer space instead!
Fortunately, humankind survived the Y2K scare and no one had to flee planet Earth.
Strap on a suuuuuuuuuuuuuit and get inside
Every time I utter the word "suit" (or "swimsuit," for that matter), I resist the urge to drag out that U. JC Chasez changed my life for the better.
THE LIFE LESSONS
Cause paranoia ain’t the way to live your life from day to day/So leave your doubts and your fears behind
It's the Y2K version of YOLO.
THE SCIENCE & HISTORY LESSONS
Don’t be afraid at all/Cause up in outer space there’s no gravity to fall/Cause up in outer space is like the wild wild west
1. Zero gravity is not scary. Got it. 2. The wild wild west lacked gravity and was not scary. Got it.
THE LISA “LEFT EYE” LOPES VERSE
Get ’N Sync and put your head to the sky/Keep the faith one love from Left Eye
THIS SONG FEATURES A LEFT EYE VERSE. THAT ALONE SHOULD GUARANTEE THIS SONG A SPOT ON ANY AND EVERY GREATEST HITS COMPILATION.
AND FINALLY, THE GIFT AFTER EVERY CHORUS