*NSYNC has fully embraced the meme the internet brings back every year at the end of April. Their 2000 hit “It’s Gonna Be Me” resurged in popularity in recent years due to singer Justin Timberlake’s pronunciation of “me.”
In a 2016 interview with 95.8 Capital FM in London (via YouTube), Timberlake revealed that the song’s producer, Max Martin, told him to pronounce the word more like he was from his home state of Tennessee.
According to an article from Vox, a Tumblr user posted the very first meme based on the hit in January 2012 — a photo of Timberlake with bold text in front of him that reads “IT’S GONNA BE MAY.” This meme instantly became a joke that repeated annually, with many celebrities getting in on the fun, including former president Barack Obama.
Vox also revealed that the meme has truly had an effect on the song’s increased streams and views. According to 2017 data from the publicist Rogers & Cowan, “It’s Gonna Be Me” received the most traffic annually each April 30. The average play count also increases every year on the last day in April, gaining more than five times the streams than the previous week. They also found that daily searches for the phrase “gonna be me” increase as well.
The boy band celebrated the meme in a hilarious way on Friday, officially changing the name of the song on streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube to read “It’s Gonna Be Me (It’s Gonna Be May). They also shared a playlist on Apple Music and YouTube with their fans to celebrate the occasion.
Timberlake himself posted a meme to Twitter with a different kind of message — a screenshot of himself in the 2000 music video for the song, with a Photoshopped face mask on. He used the moment to advocate for wearing masks in public due to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans.
Spring Summer 2020. Thanks for this, Internet. pic.twitter.com/I3mdWPTjiN
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) May 1, 2020
The lead singer of the band got plenty of responses from fans who seem to enjoy the resurgence of the meme year after year.
“Laugh at this every year. EVERY YEAR,” wrote one Twitter user.
A second individual replied under this tweet, simply saying “same.”
“My sister and I blow each others Facebook up with these on this day…its extra special for us because tomorrow is her birthday, so it’s just become a tradition!” another fan said.
“This is all I care about. Thank you,” exclaimed a third person.
“This album is still iconic literally 20 years later we love to hear it,” said a fourth user.
*NSYNC has recently been talking about having “weekly happy hours” together and have said recently that they are all on the same page about a possible reunion.