To paraphrase an old song that Justin Timberlake apparently never has recorded: “Though April showers may come your way/ They bring the memes that bloom near May …”
So get ready, y’all, for the late-April return of the “It’s Gonna Be May” memes, a pre-May Day excuse to pay homage to Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez and Timberlake, collectively known as NSYNC (written as *NSYNC on the band’s Twitter account and merchandise website).
The memes trace their origins to the 2000 hit single “It’s Gonna Be Me” from NSYNC’s second album, “No Strings Attached,” which was made especially popular by its accompanying video, which depicts the boy banders as literal living dolls flirting with various crop-topped and bikini-bottomed quasi-Barbies on the shelves of a toy store.
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Timberlake takes the lead vocals on the bouncy pop ditty. “Baby, when you finally get to love somebody, guess what — it’s gonna be meee,” he sings, but he pronounces the final word with a funkadelicized vibrato that makes “me” sound sort of like “May.”
As a result, Tumblr users, bloggers, YouTubers, content generators and other social media mischief-makers began poking fun at Timberlake. For example, BuzzFeed in 2012 posted an April calendar page with a picture of Timberlake at the bottom, with the caption “IT’S GONNA BE MAY.” To understand the joke, you had to not only know the song but be so familiar with it that you were aware of the eccentric pronunciation.
It’s that time of year again…. It’s gonna be MAY! 😂 @NSYNC -It’s Gonna Be Me 🎶 pic.twitter.com/rwHBE89ZVa
— Thomas Kavanagh (@thomaskavmusic) April 25, 2023
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Apparently, many thousands and perhaps millions of you are. So much so that on April 30, 2019, the Maytag kitchen appliance company released a commercial parody in which the lyrics were changed to “It’s Gonna Be Maytag.”
“May” memes already are appearing. In some cases, singers put their own spin on the song.
Meanwhile, NSYNC itself, on its official YouTube channel, acknowledges the meme: The original video, according to the channel, is now identified as “It’s Gonna Be Me (It’s Gonna Be May – Official Video).”
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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: ‘It’s gonna be May’: Justin Timberlake, NYSYNC memes mark end of April