From The Vault returns this week with yet Pop bop from the beginning of the century. Today’s pick is 2001’s ‘Gone’ by *N’SYNC.
Issued as the second single from the group’s ultimate effort ‘Celebrity’ – which sold 1.8 million copies in its first charting week – ‘Gone’ was written by the band’s breakout star Justin Timberlake.
The guitar-led tune was a sizeable success for the boys, peaking at #11 in the US, topping previous single ‘Pop.’ It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
The late Herb Ritts lensed the track’s visual. Monochrome, the clip follows the band as its lead man reminisces on better days of a failed relationship. Beginning and ending like a silent movie, the group – especially JT – are seen giving their best Charlie Chaplin impersonations.
As with most *N’SYNC releases, ‘Gone’ proved an instant smash on MTV TRL. It even garnered a few spins on BET’s 106 & Park, rendering the ensemble the only Caucasian clique to be played on the show.
Regardless of whose name appeared on the cover, we’ve long seen this as Justin Timberlake’s debut solo single. Albeit covertly.
For his media profile was at an all-time high due to his relationship with Pop princess Britney Spears, hence it seemed fairly deliberate to further intensify the spotlight on him within the context of the group. Thus showing the world all the talent that he possessed, all the while serving something completely different to what rival band the Backstreet Boys were delivering (see: cookie cutter Pop). A smart move, both for *N’SYNC as group and JT solo.
On a sidenote: we’re still not over the fact that JC Chasez never properly “happened” after the end of *N’SYNC. It continues to grate that back then bands almost weren’t allowed to have multiple break-out stars. Ironic given that groups such as this clearly contained top-tier talent whose individual success would have easily been a testimony to the potency of the…the group. Thankfully newer ensembles a la Fifth Harmony and One Direction are doing away with this archaic model and launching multiple stars into the stratosphere.