Reflections On Now That’s What I Call Music! 5 By A Man In The Throes Of An Existential Crisis

“It’s Gonna Be Me” by *NSYNC

In my nightmares, this song is penned to me — a ghastly promise that when I am finally ready to love, it will be *NSYNC that I give myself to; not a promise, actually, but a threat. “It’s Gonna Be Me” warns that only their brand of boy band popmanship can cut away the thick gristle clotting my heart.

The asterisk in their name taunts me, like an upturned asshole. Alternately stretching and constricting, it succulently gasps my name.

“Jumpin’ Jumpin’” by Destiny’s Child

This song is exhausting: “Jump! Jump! Okay, now bounce with it! Shake it! Twist! Now, cheat on your boyfriend! Bop it! Clench it! Now feel no remorse!”

Cheating on your boyfriend because he’s hanging out with his friends (and because you see a lot of “ballers” whose pockets are “full grown”) seems a little drastic, but technically your “boyfriend” is just a random collection of atoms batting around a pair of skinny jeans and a “Cool Story, Bro” t-shirt, so I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Throw in a great beat like the one in “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” and monogamy is for the birds!

“I Think I’m In Love With You” by Jessica Simpson

Let’s take a closer look at some of the lyrics:

  1. “Every time you’re near baby/I get kinda crazy in my head for you”
  2. “I get kinda shaky when they mention you/I just lose my cool/My friends tell me/Something has come over me”
  3. “Something strange has come over me/Got me going out of my mind”

So, if I was the guy in question here, I’d be like, “Uh, I’m flattered and all, but I’m pretty sure you’re just having a nervous breakdown. We’re all a little concerned. Also, your makeup is all smeared and you’re using a Taco Bell bag as a purse.”

“Shake Ya Ass” by Mystikal

Mystikal’s world is one in which you can temporarily lose your inhibitions and “shake ya ass” (or “shake it fast,” according to the radio edit) to the intoxicating rhythm of Pharrell’s beat, but also one in which you must simultaneously “watch yourself”: to act is to react, trapped in your own self-conscious hall of mirrors. Then again, it’s also a world in which he’s “buying if you’ve got nice curves for your icebergs.”

“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” by Aaron Carter

It’s Aaron’s party — we’re all just living in it.

“Lucky” by Britney Spears

“If there’s nothing missing in my life/Then why do these tears come at night?” Well, probably because all of the elements that constitute your supposedly perfect life are ultimately meaningless and fleeting. Or because even though you have an ability to reach more people with your message than the President of the United States, you are unable to actually connect with anyone on anything more than a specious, superficial level. Or because your fame has transformed you into simulacra. Or maybe it’s because your name is Lucky; that’s a stupid f—king name.

“It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi

Some parts of this song inspire me, like Sambora’s lasciviously charged solo, or when Mr. Jovi he clarifies that he’s not “gonna live forever” (which sometimes I worry about, because he looks like he’s made of non-recyclable parts). But I get kind of depressed when he starts singing about all of these friends of his that I don’t know, like Frankie and Tommy and Gina. I get to thinking about all of the people I’ll never meet, and I worry that means that they’ll have never actually existed, and that therefore it’s my responsibility to meet as many people as possible to summon them into actuality.

Even worse, Mr. Jovi explains that he just wants to “live while I’m alive,” seemingly endorsing autonomy/exuberance/passion/etc., all of which are antithetical to actually listening to NOW 5/”It’s My Life,” so it’s hard not to wonder if he’s just screwing with you. Needless to say, I’m not sure exactly what to make of the whole thing.

“Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely” by Backstreet Boys

Okay, Howie, A.J., Brian, Nick, and Kevin (especially Kevin); alright. I’ll show you the meaning of being lonely. But I think you already know it…

The meaning of being lonely is standing on stage in front of 30,000 people who view you not as an individual, but a cog in a bland, lifeless entity. It’s flawlessly and joylessly performing a mechanized song and dance routine that has been imposed upon you by faceless advisors. It’s selling 130 million records without earning a shred of respect or critical recognition. It’s becoming the butt of thousands of jokes. It’s having every empty gratification within arm’s reach, yet appearing in a “Behind the Music” episode where the most dramatic revelation of debauchery was that one of you did coke a few times. It’s achieving more than everyone who has ever criticized you and hating yourself for it. It’s becoming the legal nomenclature in an A&R contract. It’s being defined by three or four characteristics sparse enough to fit on the back of a trading card. It’s giving up your identity for an abstraction. It’s becoming a brand, a symbol, public domain. It’s your semen dripping listlessly down a tour jet’s chrome toilet seat. It’s your existence in the year 2012. It’s something you have to walk with. It’s not being where someone (anyone) else is. It’s something missing from your heart.

“Don’t Think I’m Not” by Kandi

Well, this song’s just catchy. TC Mark

image – Amazon

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