An ’NSync Reunion Tour? The Timing Couldn’t Be Better – Rolling Stone

Taylor Swift spoke for millions of ’NSync fans all across the globe last week when the reunited quartet presented her with the Best Pop Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. “Are you doing something?” she asked them. “What’s going to happen now? There’s something they’re going to… They’re going to do something. And I need to know what it is.”

Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Lance Bass didn’t answer any of those questions, but we already have some answers. Five years after they last appeared together in public at their Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony — and a full decade after their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo during Timberlake’s Video Vanguard performance at the 2013 VMAs — ’NSync have come back together to record a song for the Trolls Band Together soundtrack. “Better Place” is their first new track in 23 years. It hasn’t been released yet, but snippets from a video documenting the recording session make it sound like a plausible hit.

“Better Place” also invites an obvious question: Are they going to tour? If Timberlake decides to do that, since it’s fairly clear the matter rests entirely in his hands, the reunited band would pack arenas and possibly even stadiums all over the world. We also think it would be a very good idea for everyone involved. Here are eight reasons why.

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Justin Timberlake Could Use a Reboot

Framing Britney Spears, the documentary released in 2021, caused many people to look at Justin Timberlake’s past in a new way. Some insensitive comments he made about Spears and other women in the early days of his solo career drew new criticism, as did his 2002 “Cry Me a River” video, starring a Britney lookalike actress. Then there’s the matter of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, where he ripped off Janet Jackson’s top and somehow escaped nearly all blame as she was ostracized by the industry. “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem,” he wrote on Instagram, “where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism… I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”

Even after the public apology, Timberlake’s reputation took a definite hit. An ’NSync reunion tour is a perfect chance to remind people why they fell in love with him in the first place. The moment they kick into “Tearing Up My Heart” on night one, a warm bath of nostalgia will wash away any mixed feelings for the fans in that room. He’ll once again be the Justin that Taylor Swift and millions of others from her generation had pinned to their bedroom walls.

They’re Still Friends

When you look at most of the dormant music acts that refuse to reunite despite opportunities to make enormous sums of money — Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, the Smiths — you realize they have one thing in common: They absolutely hate each other. That is simply not the case with ’NSync. Sure, there were some frustrations when Timberlake pulled the plug on the group in 2004, but it seems to have had little to no impact on their friendships. They have a group text chat, get together in private for special occasions, and seem to have a genuine love for one another. Check out this teaser video below where they lip-sync Friends dialogue to tease the new single. You can’t fake this kind of joyful camaraderie. If they got back together for a tour, there wouldn’t need to be some sort of Van Halen-type situation where they only see each other onstage. They’d have a ton of fun.

The Twenty-Year Rule of Nostalgia Is Kicking In

Your average ’NSync fan was about 14 in 1999. That means they are now in their late thirties or early forties. We’re speaking very broadly now, but that’s not an age where most people are actively keeping up with new music. It’s an age where people often return to the music they loved growing up. This explains why the New Kids on the Block made a killing when they reformed in 2008. That tour would have been a tough sell in 1998. The Blockhead Army wasn’t ready for them at that point. But New Kids timed their reunion perfectly to the 20-year rule of nostalgia, hitting the road almost exactly two decades after Hangin’ Tough, and it worked like a charm. ’NSync has been in the prime nostalgia zone for a few years now. Their fans are quite eager to fork over big money to see them again.

It Doesn’t Need To Be All About the Past

When Paul Simon finally folded and agreed to a Simon and Garfunkel reunion show in 1981, he didn’t want it be a strict Sixties nostalgia affair. That’s why they played Simon solo songs from more recent years, like “American Tune,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “Late in the Evening” and even “The Late Great Johnny Ace,” a brand-new one. Simon found a way to incorporate Garfunkel’s voice into his solo work, and he gave Garfunkel a moment of his own to sing his solo song “A Heart in New York.” Beyonce did something similar when Destiny’s Child reunited at Beyonce’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime show, where Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Beyonce for a wild rendition of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Imagine ‘N Sync lending their voices to Justin solo favorites like “Rock Your Body,” “My Love,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — or maybe even a new hit. Doesn’t that sound fun?

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It Would Be Great for the Other Four Guys, Too

The Spice Girls reunited for a tour in 2007, and all five members were given moments alone on the stage throughout the night. Lance Bass and Joey Fatone haven’t done much musically since the group split, but Chris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez both had their own albums that largely flew under the radar. This is a chance to change that and get their work heard by a much larger audience. And Joey can… recreate scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3? Show off his Dancing With the Stars moves? We’re sure he’ll figure something out. The same goes for Lance. Give that man ten minutes alone on an arena stage, and we’re very confident he’ll keep the audience entertained. (As far as Chris, we’re hoping he can reunite his Mission Man Band supergroup Sureshot at one of the shows. Remember them?)

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It Could Even Lead to a New Album

Most reunited musical acts don’t even think about cutting a new album. They merely want to play the old hits and rake in cash, which is fair enough. But ’NSync already have a new song. As we said, it sounds pretty good from what we’ve heard. What’s stopping them from creating a whole new album? Studio sessions won’t descend into painful fights for control like they’re Fleetwood Mac or something. They’ll have a blast working together again. And why can’t ’NSync create a great new album in 2024 that brings them a new generation of fans? Stranger things have happened.


Justin Timberlake Doesn’t Have to Stop Making Solo Music

Comparing ’NSync to Pavement is absurd for about 78 different reasons. Let’s do it anyway. Stephen Malkmus first reunited with Pavement in 2010 after a decade-long break. They took off another 12 years before going back out in 2022 for their second reunion tour, which just wrapped. This didn’t mean he walked away from his solo career at any point. He kept making albums and touring on his own the entire time. It’s possible to have a musical career on two different tracks, with one focused on the past and the other focused on the present. And the Pavement reunions have done nothing but remind fans of Malkmus’ genius. They’ve rewarded fans of his old work and helped boost his solo career too. The same thing could happen with ’NSync. As soon as their reunion tour ends, Justin would have a ton of momentum he could transfer to his solo career. It would be a genuine win/win.

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They Could Just Keep Going

New Kids on the Block didn’t stop with just one reunion tour in 2008. They’ve kept it going virtually every other summer up until the present. (That might be partly because they don’t have a “Justin” with his own huge solo career and a bottomless well of money.) The new incarnation of the New Kids has lasted far longer than the original one, and it’s given them plenty of time for outside projects. The same thing could happen with ’NSync. Imagine a future where they hit the road every second or third summer. It’s not like their fans will lose interest once they all hit 50 or 60. The Beach Boys are still playing to their original fans 60 years after they formed. To keep things interesting, ’NSync could hit the road with other acts from their time. Pick the right Y2K-era peers for a double bill, and they could probably play stadiums. They could even throw in 98 Degrees and O-Town just for fun. (That might be enough to finally bring Ashley Parker Angel back into the O-Town fold.) The possibilities are endless. All it takes is for Justin to say “yes.”

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