Written by Melynee, Amanda
MTVIcon: Janet Jackson brought us an unexpected treat – *NSYNC not only doing a fantastic cover, but putting their own spin on the video itself. The first viewing left most popgurls nearly incoherent, but after subsequent viewings (we lost count around 762), we felt that we could properly discuss “That’s the Way Love Goes,” boy-style.
Melynee: Okay, first off. Timing! What happened to timing?! Guys (and by guys, I mean Chris), you’re entertainers. You’ve been working a crowd for years now. So, um, what the hell? You broke the first rule of performing: crowd reaction builds to a peak and then tapers off again. You don’t start singing/grooving/whatever it is you’re doing until they’ve just passed the apex, because otherwise THEY AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION. I’d make some comparison here to your *ahem* bedroom technique *ahem* Chris, but I’m taking the high road.
Amanda: In my original assessment of this appearance, I said Justin wasn’t funny. And upon rewatching, I still don’t think he is. But! He is incredibly cute when he looks at the camera and mouths “fine.” It’s just that easy for him to go from total moron to cute for me.
I’m so easy.
Melynee: Justin. The moustache. Or lack thereof. Hon, your hormones just don’t have what it takes to give you full-on facial hair (and even if they did, eww). So do us a favor: quit with the trying. Please.
Amanda: What is it with these boys and facial hair lately? There are exactly two members of *NSYNC who are allowed to have it. And they know who they are.
Melynee: And then we get to see a clip of the video as it stood under Janet’s control.
(Control. Ha. I kill me.) And all I keep thinking is that if they remake the part where the couple is jamming in front of the speaker, it’s gonna have to be JC getting his groove on, because you just know he’s coveting those scary orange stripes.
Amanda: Well, um, I was sort of hoping it would be Justin. Not for the stripes, but for the hips. Caveat: Had it been Justin, I would have fucking died. Right there on the couch. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Oh! And Justin totally loses all of his cute points when, after Janet’s version is over, he looks at the crowd and says, “See, I toad you” about Janet being fine. The word is “told.” Moron.
Melynee: “So we all figured we’d try to repaint a masterpiece.” What? No. Wrong. Some writer was clearly reaching for a metaphor here that just did not make it. I mean, you’d think the sentiment should be just the opposite: “We knew that we could never repaint your masterpiece…” Or even… nope. Nevermind. You can’t make it better. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that. La la la la.
Amanda: Yeah. I mean, if you’re going to write lines for Chris to read, please write something that Chris himself would actually say. Maybe, “So we figured we’d try to make this as hot as she did.” Ahahaha. No. Um. Right.
The video starts.
Melynee: Yeah, ok. I melt. And it happens right away, when JC sings his little “ooh!” and flicks his hand. I can’t explain, but it does weird things inside of me. Whatever.
Amanda: And I’m more focused on the way Lance is all reclining in his chair, back against the wall, wearing those khakis. Khaki pants don’t usually work for me. But I’ll have to re-evaluate this.
Melynee: Justin. In the chair. Twitching. And yet, I find it charming. Because, it’s too much, right? And he knows it. And he does it anyway. Mmmm. Yeah, and also. He’s wearing that lovely green shirt and it reminds me of Lance’s shirt in “Just Got Paid,” and then all I’m picturing is Justin wearing Lance. Hoo.
Amanda: I love the twitching because I can imagine what the rest of him is doing, like, for instance, the hips. I’m so fucking obsessed with his hips. I hate myself.
Someone was asking me earlier why everyone was making this song slashy, and I just figured it out. They’ve broken up the verses for JC and Justin in such a way that they’re singing to each other. It’s the fault of whoever did this arrangement that it’s slashy. Phew. And I thought it was just me.
Melynee: I really am in love with the director and cinematographer on this video. Because, you’re right Amanda, they really seem to have a slashgurl’s best interests at heart. Example #1: The camera is looking from Lance’s POV, over Chris’ right shoulder, at JC on the stairway. JC’s singing “Baby, you know just what I like.” Yep. I’ll bet Lance does. Or,
Example #2: camera on Justin, “Come closer baby, closer.” Cut to JC, “I wanna feel your body.” Right. God. I mean, I understand, intellectually, that the video was most likely shot out of sequence, that whenever you see a close-up on just one of The Boys the rest are all most likely running around behind the camera making idiotic faces and mooning each other, all in a desperate attempt to crack up whoever is being filmed at that moment. But all I can think, watching, is that Justin and JC are desperately, sweetly, achingly, singing to each other.
Amanda: The page turn is… is… uh. (incoherent muttering at Lance)
Melynee: Um. So. Now comes the point in the video where Lance becomes irredeemably hot. And stays that way, forever and ever and ever. Really, it’s just gonna be a given for the rest of this. Whenever I say something, just stick “…and then Lance looked really fucking hot. Yeah” at the end. For variety, I could add in modifying clauses, like, “when he turns that page” or “sitting there slumped back against the wall” or “when he looks down at the table.” But the main feel is just that. Lance. Hot.
Wait. Hold on one second here. The video’s going along great. Everyone’s really, um. Yummy. And sultry and singing and very clearly getting ready turn off the cameras and have lots of sweaty sex with each other on the couch and the floor, or even leave the cameras rolling, maybe, yeah, because that would be even yummier. And then. Great shot of JC on the stairs, Joey, leaning over the back of the couch in the foreground and. Joey’s playing on a Gameboy. What? Joey? Uh, babe, what video are you in? Has the impending baby really impacted your slut vibe that drastically? I swear, I’m about to go into mourning.
Amanda: Justin sinking down the wall and writhing is still. Probably. Maybe. One of the hottest things I’ve ever seen. Good to know it’s still effective on the second viewing.
Melynee: Justin and that pillar. Really. Every time they cut back to him rubbing himself against it, it just gets better. Only this time, I understand that he’s pointing to himself, for those of us, I guess, who didn’t find the word “I” specific enough, but, he’s doing it with both hands, and it looks like what he’s really doing is grabbing his nipples.
And it doesn’t help.
Amanda: I don’t notice the nipples so much as the big-ass grin he’s got going, and how much he seems to enjoy the pillar rubbing.
Melynee: Then. We cut to JC again. Who has got his hands fisted down near his hips, and is concentrating really hard on… singing, I guess. But it looks like he’s near his moment of, um, “release,” and yeah, I really love the director.
Amanda: Pause! Lance has a red heart on his shirt, right over where his actual heart would be. It’s sort of romantic. Ahahaha. Lance is romantic! Oh! But he just flicked his head in a haughty way. So now he’s hot again.
Melynee: Ok. Need to take a moment to gather myself, here. Good time to mention this: the painting hanging right between Lance and Chris on the wall. With the big blue star. Either the set director’s a big Miro fan, or there’s a visual pun there. I’m not sure which.
Amanda: Rewind! Because Justin just said, “You feel so good I’m gonna cry.”
Melynee: Yeah. Well. Yeah.
Amanda: I don’t even hate his hair right now.
Melynee: Right. Justin’s back on the pillar again. And look! Some of the old NSA choreography snuck in! Because don’t tell me you watched him do that shoulder thing again without thinking, “Round up the posse, jump in my ride.”
Amanda: Lance looks devastatingly hot. Deva.stat.ing. The crowd goes wild. They’ve never cheered for him like this before. Bitches.
Melynee: JC is singing with his arms again. I pray for his sake he never loses them in a freak accident, because I don’t know if his vocal cords would work anymore. That sounds a lot sicker out loud than it did in my head.
Amanda: You know, Chris almost ruins the sex vibe of this song for me. His voice is so high and clear and the rest of them are all grizzly and hot.
Melynee: My second favorite moment of the video. Close-up on JC. He’s not even singing, just looking down, out the bottom left corner of the frame. And apparently, whoever is down there (it can be Lance, Amanda) just did something incredibly sweet and affectionate, like, y’know, petting his foot or something, because there goes the little quirky half-smile. Ah.
Amanda: So. Okay. Lance looks down and grins the sexiest fucking smile ever and Chris is looking at him. He has muscles in his forearm, and that damn hot thing around his wrist. You know, his fluidity surprises me every time. I mean, he was so awkward before! And now his movements are smoother than JC, whose moves are always so big and crisp, even when he’s just grooving. (groan at the super Authoritative!Lance page flip)
Melynee: This time Joey’s playing cards with Chris. I can just hear the AD. “Quick! He’s getting bored again! Someone break out the Old Maid deck!”
Amanda: (rewinds and watches the end four times) Okay. The shot of JC AFTER he’s done the sexy looking down and smiling is of him sitting next to Lance. And Lance would have been to the left of him, and therefore the smile WAS for Lance. No matter how they shot this, that’s how I’m playing it. Because, in the last shot of the entire thing, JC is sitting in a chair next to Lance (who’s on the couch) and he’s leaning toward Lance. His entire body is pointed toward Lance.
Whew. The end.
The Final Word: Melynee
Heh. So. Having rewatched (and rewatched and rewatched) the video multiple times now, I have developed my own pet fantasy about what’s really happening.
It goes a little something like this:
Chris has been more than usually himself lately (read: annoying, hyper) and Justin’s been more than usually himself (read: pissy, diva-like) and Chris is seizing on every opportunity he can find to yank Justin’s chain. Justin finally gets fed up and in retaliation fakes a drunken confession to Chris, in which he lets slip the lie that Lance thinks Chris is incredibly sexy when he furrows his brow and looks serious. Chris is thrilled, because, as with the rest of the world, Lance’s transformation from retiring, pretty teen to forceful, lickable god has not been lost on him. He spends weeks following Lance everywhere, puppy-style, talking business and attempting a vaguely menacing sneer.
Lance worries that Chris is having digestive troubles. Justin, being unable to keep a secret for longer than the two minutes it takes him to figure out who doesn’t know it yet, relishes the confusion, and crows his triumph to JC. JC just sighs. In bed that night, though, he lets Lance in on Justin’s plot and is secretly relieved by the faint flicker of distaste that crosses Lance’s features and is quickly replaced by surprise and dawning realization. Lance promises to let Chris down gently after the video shoot the next day, and JC wraps his arm more comfortably around Lance’s waist before drifting off to sleep…
That’s the way love goes, baby.
The Final Word: Amanda
1. Joey cannot sing without his right hand. He likes to count out notes with it. All. The. Fucking. Time. He is terribly appealing just lying around on the couch, and I would love to take over the petting of his stomach from him, if he’d let me.
2. Chris may or may not be wearing a kimono, and not knowing disturbs me. His head is very round.
3. JC can be hot to me within the confines of a really hot video.
4. Justin is going to be my final undoing, total proof of my slide into being a loser and a teenie.
5. Lance will now be known as “Hot Predatory Lance” instead of “Big Gay Lance.” At least until this thing wears off.