The members of *NSYNC are absorbed inside The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch and sing the song ‘Pop’ but it sounds haunting and weird like that recording of the butt music from Bosch’s painting: a triptych

By | 1 September 2023

Like a poet, like a sucker, I am married to the source-code of language
Hoovering up etymologies and then regurgitating them ad nauseum like a debate captain in an American high school movie
According to
According to the dictionary
According to the cockney rhyming thesaurus
According to Urban
According to the hysterical horny boring orgiastic masses with bloody asses
Accordingly I must recount the scintillating origin story of the band name *NSYNC
The name refers, according to some admittedly rudimentary googling
To Justin Timberlake’s mother’s assessment that the band were so ‘in sync!’
The letters also derive, haphazardly, from the names of the five singers:
JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, JasoN, and JC
But what of the *? A careless elision? A bold statement?
* represents an absence, which is made to emphasise the non-presence of the letter ‘I’, which is coincidentally (or not) the first-person pronoun — the self
Which perhaps refers to a silent sixth member of the band (you?)
Or perhaps an ecstatic sublimation of the self, necessary to the creation of a united and harmonically/melodically gifted band such as late-90s pop creation *NSYNC
Which is sometimes stylised NSYNC where the asterisk disappears and is replaced by literally nothing
What’s worse? A conscious uncoupling or a bitter divorce of the self?
Or being the kind of wanker who invokes Derrida to talk tween idols of the 90s?
When * was a kid, the part in The Witches by Roald Dahl that * was most scared of was when the little girl gets trapped in a painting by a witch for eternity
And in a movie: when Alice goes beyond Wonderland then gets home – but is trapped in the mirror-world and no one can hear her or see her
It suggests there is no worse hell than being trapped inside someone else’s artwork or fantasy
But all * want is to be trapped inside someone’s artwork or fantasy
Like what a trip? * think that love can pause us like in a haunted mirror
Like a mummy being embalmed
Even if * look disgusting and shrivelled * am forever immortal in your gaze
But anyway this is not the story of * or me or love or my fear of death
It’s the story of *NSYNC becoming trapped inside a painting by a late medieval/early modern painter named Hieronymus Bosch

According to the lyrics of ‘Pop’ by *NSYNC pop is about respect
It doesn’t matter – right now Justin Timberlake pulls open his pleather overshirt to reveal a naked woman’s legs emerging from the split of a mussel shell embedded in his chest
All that matters is Joey Fatone’s dark brown hair with ice-blond highlights and the strange praying mantis–style hand motions the five members do in the dance break – they writhe on the ground like snakes humping, they are naked and riding on the backs of birds, they are plucking peaches from trees
Do you ever wonder why?
And everything is a flesh paradise – pink tents made of skin everywhere and cool pools of water and clusters of trees
When your body starts to rock?
And the member of the band who * don’t know the name of is wearing a sheer tight shirt and pleather pants with a lace-up fly and he is sitting with a woman inside a bubble that is being blown by another woman
And Lance Bass is there too, or the artist currently known as Lance Bass, * believe he changed his name at some point
Baby you can’t stop my further googling: *NSYNC’s first album, the predecessor to Celebrity, which featured ‘Pop’
Was titled No Strings Attached, a name that evokes several associations, including
Puppetry, and the iconic wooden Pinnochio who pines (pun intended) to be a real boy
The idea of having a no-strings-attached tryst, i.e., intimacy and sex without commitment
And also the idea of being free from external influence
These associations being somewhat ironic considering the unreality of being in a pop band and the manufacture of such an outfit
The kind of adoration and boyfriend-able appeal of the clean-cut members
And that the record involved at least fourteen producers responsible for most of the megahits of the decade
Inciting critical pressure for the band members to be more involved in the next album’s production
And right now everyone is gnawing on giant glistening berries and dancing and their selves are collapsing into unrepentant hedonism juice dripping down their chins
Justin Timberlake is named as a collaborator on the songwriting of ‘Pop’ and based on the audio seems to be the only member of the band singing?
One voice layered over itself eternally
And the music’s all you got
And the music’s all you got
And the music’s all you got

Man *’m tired of singing
Man *’m tired of always writing about myself
What happens when you are trapped inside your own artwork?
And the artwork is a self-portrait or a series of them?
What happens when you leave the mirror world… only to be caught forever entranced by another mirror?
How can * elide the * or the you or the me that is also you?
Mmm MMM *NSYNC trapped in a hellscape by an artist from 700 years ago
A hellscape that’s so frightening it starts to be normal
The implied third part of the triptych (III)
It’s an illustrated dictionary and every definition describes torture
And has a picture of an implied * screaming
From which you can now intuit that this must be
And the birds are eating the members of *NSYNC
And they are erased letter by letter

                                                  🍴 😋 🐦


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