20 years ago Saturday, *NSYNC‘s released their third album, Celebrity, which also ended up being their last album. Coming off the record-setting sales of 2000’s No Strings Attached, *NSYNC wanted to change things up, but they didn’t realize Celebrity would be their final musical statement.
“We thought we were gonna keep on going, and doing what we were doing,” Joey Fatone tells ABC Audio about making Celebrity. “But of course, we were nervous because it’s like, how can you top the last album, when it was the biggest, [most] successful album…of all time, y’know? It was weird.”
“When we did the album…we really got into the digital side of things,” explains Chris Kirkpatrick, noting that Celebrity predated every online digital platform, including MySpace. “So we really tried to push the boundaries on what we thought the digital age was going to be and explain it in our songs and in our music.”
Joey says the album was meant to be more “experimental,” with the group incorporating sounds they’d heard while touring around the world. “We liked what we liked,” he says.
“We worked with some great artists,” Chris adds. “So I think it still holds up…– as well as it could possibly be for 20 years ago.”
Celebrity sold 1,879,955 copies in its first week — the fastest-selling album since No Strings Attached — and spun off three hits: “Gone,” “Girlfriend” and “Pop.” Billboard just ranked every song on the record, with “Girlfriend” at #1, followed by “Gone” and “Pop.” Chris Kirkpatrick agrees — mostly.
“‘Girlfriend’ was always my favorite,” he says. “I really liked ‘Pop’ — maybe I would argue between ‘Gone’ and ‘Pop’ — we could switch those two around, but they were both such great hits that it’s kind of hard to put one above the other.”