I wrote the other day about my love of documentaries that show the real workings of Planet Pop, and a very similar niche genre is the pop autobiography. I have found that there are two types. Firstly, there are the ones written by relatively new pop acts at the height of their success, who have too much to lose to reveal what their lives are really like, and are generally still in love with the pop life anyway. The other type are those written later in an artist’s career, when they are either established enough to be able to reveal the truth about their early career without damaging their reputation, or far enough out of the limelight to have nothing left to lose.
The book I have just finished reading, Out Of Sync by Lance Bass from *N Sync, is very much the latter type. Although I had no particular interest in Lance (JC was my favourite, followed by Justin) I was a huge *N Sync fan so his autobiography is especially interesting to me as it reveals the reality behind pop moments that I followed devotedly as a young teen. Lance’s writing style is certainly far from award-winning, but his complete openness about every moment of his career and personal life makes the book a riveting read. I feel genuinely like I know him now, and I was surprised to find that even the section about his failed attempt to go into space (yes, that did happen – it wasn’t just a bizarre dream you had back in the early ’00s!) was interesting, simply because it was such an unusual situation.
The book has been criticised for the way Lance speaks about his sexuality (he clearly still has a lot of issues to deal with in that respect), but if you are looking for a book about the experience of being a pop superstar and the comedown after it all combusts, then it’s well worth reading.
Here are a few examples of the amazing pop gossip found within Out Of Sync’s pages:
1. *N Sync may never have been successful without Take That – it was because TT had just split up that *N Sync were signed in Germany, as the label saw that Europe was in the market for a new boyband and *N Sync appeared in front of them at just the right moment.
2. All the other members of *N Sync apart from Lance had relations with female fans, especially in the early years when they were building up their fanbase in Germany. Some of them had girlfriends at the same time back in the US.
3. Lance believes that the break-up of *N Sync was very much Justin’s fault, and portrays him quite negatively throughout the book (in contrast to the other members, who he is very positive about) suggesting a great deal of resentment. However, he does write Justin a very nice message in the thank yous at the end of the book.
4. Lance seems to really like Britney Spears and says that she was very much in love with Justin. However, he says he knew that their relationship wouldn’t last as Justin’s only true love was his career.
5. He writes about many major TV shows that he was set to be involved in, but none of them ever materialise into anything. He forgets to mention the record label he set up in 2000 and closed shortly after. Oh well, the extreme honesty has to end somewhere…
Not strictly an autobiography I suppose but I've recently read and enjoyed this (it was from a £2 shop so there must be loads of them about):
It's mostly about his career and written in a “we did this, then this, and then Donna Summer came in” way, but there's some very interesting stuff in there about the SAW dynamic. I'm going to get this to compare and contrast…
Showing my age there, I think!
Pete Waterman's autobiography is the best, he basically invented everything including – but not limited to – John Travolta, disco music, Railway Enthusiasm, recording studios, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls and anything worth giving a shit about in the late 90s/early 00s.
viva JC. So underrated 🙂 Anyway, i may track down this biography. talking of SAW, i've just bought the Phil Harding book about PWL so I'm going to attack that once i've finished the final Percy Jackson!!