The Year in Music 2023: *NSYNC reunites and gets to a “Better Place”

They weren’t trolling us — *NSYNC banded together for a reunion this year, and we have the Trolls Band Together movie to thank for making it happen.

– Rumblings of a reunion started in August, after Justin Timberlake posted a photo with JC Chasez in the studio. About a week later, sources started spilling to publications that the group members would have “surprise roles” in the Trolls Band Together movie and would be releasing a new song for it.

– Justin, JC, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick added even more fuel to the rumors by reuniting at the MTV VMAs in September to present the award for Best Pop, which went to Taylor Swift. Even Taylor was curious about what they were cooking up. “Are you doing something? Like, what’s gonna happen now?” she asked while onstage.

– The day after the VMAs, the group confirmed what was happening: Their first new song in 20 years, “Better Place,” would appear on the soundtrack of Trolls Band Together. The song was released on September 29.

– In October, “Better Place” had *NSYNC back on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time since 2002, debuting at #25. In November, it won a Hollywood Music in Media Award for Song — Animated Film.

Trolls Band Together hit theaters on November 17; the group provided voices for the members of a Troll boy band called Kismet, *NSYNC’s original name. Justin reprised his role of Branch in the franchise.

– While fans have been clamoring for a reunion tour, that likely won’t be happening anytime soon. Justin has a solo album in the works, set to be released next year, and plans to tour in support of that.

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