Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diversion 2.0 Thirty Day Song Challenge -- Day 20: A Song You Love By an Artist You Don't

*NSYNC – “Pop”

Today’s entry is basically Judge Me, Part II. I was never a huge fan of *NSYNC (I was more into Hanson back in the day), and despite my growing opinion of Justin Timberlake, I’ve never quite been taken by the group as a whole.

Except for one, solitary song.

My affection for “Pop” (which, now I think about it, has been constant since 2001) exists solely because of its stellar, juicy production. For you see, “Pop” is produced to electronic music auteur BT, famous for songs like “Never Gonna Come Back Down,” “Smart Bomb,” and that song that plays over the opening credits of Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! Lord knows what sort of record label shenanigans happened to get it arranged, but somehow one of the biggest names in American electronic music ended up producing a single for one of the biggest names in American pop music. The two great tastes adage never quite goes away.

I remember vaguely liking “Pop” when I first heard it in 2001, but by then the boy/girl band craze was waning, with “Pop” arguably being the last major single produced by the original guard from the late 90’s. As such, I didn’t hear it again until nearly ten years later, when I was going through my friend Jordyn’s computer for music. I had become a fan of BT’s work since then, and his Movement in the Still Life album was ruling my life at the time. It was only natural, then, that I would fall head over heels for this song.

“Pop” is chock full of Emotional Technology-era BT-isms: bubbly synth, tweaked-out guitars, and BT’s signature vocal stutter (his song “Somnambulist( Simply Being Loved)” is another great instance of how he uses this effect). The production is so distinct, and so different from *NSYNC’s previous work, it’s easy to imagine the two groups having sort of a Dev/Cataracs relationship, with the producer having equal or “featured” billing along with the main artist. Part of me is curious if the rest of the album has any more songs like “Pop,” though my common sense tells me I’m better off not knowing.

“Pop” is a prime example of how stellar production work can tilt my opinion of a song, even if I’m not a huge fan of the actual artist. If Justin Timberlake decides to produce another album, he needs to give Brian Transeau a call.

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