We’re less than two weeks into 2018 and, already, it shaping up to be a pretty amazing year. Why? Well, mostly because Justin Timberlake is blessing us with new music and a tour. On Friday, Jan. 5, the pop crooner, 36, released the music video for “Filthy,” the lead single from his upcoming album, Man of the Woods. And while it’s not my favorite JT song ever, I have to admit that I am still amazed by his undeniable star power — nearly 16 years after he left ‘NSYNC to pursue a solo career.
Since then, Justin has released four studio albums, which have spawned 17 Top 10 Billboardhits – with five hitting the coveted No. 1 spot. The Mickey Mouse Club alum has also won 10 Grammys for his musical efforts without JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Lance Bass. Obviously, this man was meant to be on his own.
Reflecting on Mr. Timberlake’s achievements as a solo act got me thinking about other boy band members who’ve tried taking the same route. Some teen heartthrobs found similar success to Justin’s, but there were several others who should’ve stuck with their groups for good. Here, Life & Style ranks the best (and most devastating) solo careers of former boy banders.
1) Justin Timberlake (Best)
Not surprisingly, Justin tops the list. While I’m still salty over his use of a Britney Spearslookalike in his exploitative 2002 breakup anthem “Cry Me a River” — sorry, but the Holy Spearit comes before anyone (even if she did reportedly cheat on Justin with Wade Robson) — I can’t sit here and say I haven’t purchased each and every one of his albums. And, of course, I’ve watched his music videos a million times on YouTube. Plus, his January 2003 cover of Rolling Stone still remains my ultimate definition of #bodygoals. Justin is a superstar. And every boy bander looking to make a break better take notes from this guy.
2) Omarion (Best)
TBH, B2K sounds like Kidz Bop compared to Omarion’s catalog of solo hits. After splitting from the group in 2003, the sexy R&B star honed in on his personal sound — and is still dropping grade-A bops to this day. He’s released five albums on his own, and is set to drop his sixth effort, Reasons, sometime this year. The LP’s first single (and video), “Distance,” is fire. Do yourself a favor and check it out above.
3) Nick Lachey (Best)
Though I am living for the fact that 98 Degrees is still together, the group’s lead singer, Nick Lachey, can definitely hold his own. The handsome vocalist has several solo albums and a handful of hits under his belt. In 2003, he dropped SoulO, which featured the emotional ballad “This I Swear,” aka the theme song for MTV’s Newlyweds, on which he starred alongside now-ex-wife Jessica Simpson. (So many nostalgia feels RN!) And then, in 2006, he released his sophomore album, What’s Left of Me. Its titular first single described Nick’s earth-shattering divorce from Jessica. Try and watch the video (which, oddly enough, starred Nick’s now-wife, Vanessa Lachey) without crying. I dare you.