The real fun, though, comes with Just Got Paid. The song is a remake of the ’88 Johnny Kemp hit, and gets a fresh, pop update. The boys retain the song’s original R&B feel though, and the overall result is a fun, danceable song. Even Kirkpatrick’s rapping towards the middle comes off well. The guys keep up the R&B feel with Makes Me Ill. Hip-hop producers of the time, Kandi and Kevin Briggs lend their talent, but this song isn’t nearly as fun as the one before it. Again, the chorus is catchy (“It makes me ill/To see you give/Love and attention at his will/And you can’t imagine how it makes me feel/To see you with him”), but the guys seem to be trying to hard to pull of this “street”/R&B vibe and it doesn’t work well this time around.
Thankfully, Nsync returns to what they’re really good at- beautiful ballads- with This I Promise You. This song was the third single released from the album (the sad thing is that I know all of this information off hand; I’ve had to do no research so far, and I know I’m right without any verification), and was another impressive hit. We get a true glimpse of the vocal talent of the group here; from Timberlake’s smooth voice and Chasez’s strong chops, to the boys’ trademark tight harmonies. The Richard Marx-penned melody is sappy, but it’s still a treat to the ears.
The title basically describes everything you need to know- this song is all about cyber sex
The tempo picks right back up with the upbeat title track, No Strings Attached. While the title of the album was more of a play on the fact that the group had disbanded from its’ former label (and creepy boy band guru manager, Lou Perlman), the song is actually about love (“You don’t have to be afraid to fall in love/And I know that you’ve hurt in the past/But if you want it, here’s my heart/No strings attached”). Though the song sounds like another stereotypical pop song, I’ve always been a fan of it. It’s also a fun one to watch them perform live (and yes, I own both of the Nsync concert DVDs. Shut up). Nsync spices things up and hits a bit of risque territory with Digital Getdown. It’s a bit odd hearing the squeaky clean boys of Nsync singing about wanting to get “freaky deaky” and “nasty nasty” but the song is still done in a tasteful enough way that twelve and thirteen year old girls probably have no idea what they’re really talking about (at least, I didn’t at that age. Then again, I was very naive about that kind of stuff). The concept of the song seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but somehow Timberlake and Chasez pull off the racy verses well, and overall, the track is another fun one.
The only complete disappointment on the album comes with Bringin’ Da Noise. Similar in sound and concept to Here We Go, a track off of Nsync’s debut disc Tempe escort service, the song is an anthem for the band and how they’re going to “bring the noise” and “turn the party out”. The song’s only saving grace is the memorable chorus, but besides that, it has absolutely no substance and features solos only by Chasez (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but his vocals become a bit over the top and too much at times).
Timberlake’s young voice is quite sweet and lovely during the verses, and he and Chasez sound great together during the bridge
Nsync redeems itself with the Diane Warren ballad, That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You. Despite the hopeless romantic in me, I’m never really a fan of Warren’s songs- they’re usually too gushy- even forme. But I’m a sucker for good voices, and all the boys are in top form during this track. Even Kirkpatrick, Fatone and Bass are heard on this track, and the song is, quite simply, a beautiful love ballad.