Announcement: I am not a tween.

Today I tried to listen to 5 Seconds of Summer. (5SOS, as the kids call them. I know this now! Hashtag relevant!)


Because I like to punish myself musically with deliciously bad pop music from time to time? Perhaps.

Because I heard something last week about how this band might be bigger than One Direction, but I had no idea who they are, and this made me feel old and out of touch? More likely.

I say “I tried to” because I didn’t make it past the first song on their Spotify. But that 3:58 of nouveau boybandery did fill me with both nostalgia for my teenage self and definitive satisfaction in my current state of adulthood.

First of all: The album cover. Those jeans are so tight, they make my lower half go numb just looking at them. (In MY day, boy bands’ pants were so baggy you could store provisions in them for the long winter.)


“We can’t feel our feet, ladies.”


“Hey, girl. I got room for you in my pants. I mean, not like that. but. you know. whatever.”

Second of all: The name. Think about it…five seconds. Leave it to teenagers to glorify such a short span of time. You have your whole life ahead of you; you have no idea what it feels like to have a Tuesday in June feel just like a Tuesday in February—in terms of routine, if not weather. (Entirely possible the name has some significance that I’m not grasping, but I don’t care to spend the 5 Seconds of My Life it would take to google it and find out.)

Third of all: The song. (Oh yeah! The music; that’s something.) The top single on Spotify today was “Amnesia” (see above.) And I’m pretty sure IT COULDN’T BE MORE MILLENNIAL IF IT TRIED. Observe:

The pictures that you sent me, they’re still living in my phone.
I’ll admit I like to see them, I’ll admit I feel alone.

OH THE FEELINGS! And OH the…unrelatable technological situations responsible for those feelings. I had a cellphone in high school, but the closest it got me to emotional anguish was bumping into my own tail during particularly tense rounds of Snake.

It’s not an original thought, I recognize, but I’m still ever so grateful that social media and smartphones didn’t exist in my formative years. Girls can be mean. Boys are confusing. Online life makes those realities all the more immediate and unrestricted.

Kids these days, is what I’m saying. Please pass me the clicker and an electric blanket. It’s almost time for “Murder She Wrote,” and I don’t like to miss my stories.

JT Now & Forever

This title ^ was the name of a playlist I had on my first iPod. Fact.

Like most women of a certain age, I’ve had a thing for Justin Timberlake since long before I knew what “having a thing” even meant. The mid-1990’s were stupid with boy bands, and while Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees had their appeal, I was always an NSYNC girl at heart.

(Though, full disclosure: I was more a JC Chasez fan in the early days, back when JT was just “Justin” and JC was the tall, dark-haired need-I-say-more one. See: center below.)

Tearin’ up my heart


But JT fully won me over in the post-NSYNC years, with his solo albums and SNL appearances, to the point that when he was bringing sexy back in 2006, oh it had already been brought-en.

I’ve seen FutureSex|LoveSounds described as one of the best pop albums of the last decade, and I won’t argue with that. I mean, let’s just: “Sexy Back” might be THE dance anthem of the late 2000s, and “What Goes Around Comes Around” is one of the best breakup pop songs OF ALL TIME.


So, clearly, I’ve been excited about this new-album buzz in the weeks leading up to today. From the cryptic social media announcement, to “Suit & Tie” (which I actually liked. Get off my back.), to his latest SNL host-slash-musical-guest-aganza — I’ve been all in.

Which makes it all the more tragic for me to admit … that when I listened to the new album on Spotify today … I didn’t really love it. Nothing will change my love for you, JT, but I’m a little underwhelmed. (But, to be fair, is that what they said to Michael Jackson after Thriller? Even a little bit? …well, after Thriller was Bad, so. Dammit.)

So the entire 20/20 Experience doesn’t live up to 7 years of expectations. At least one song does. And does and does.

“Mirrors” is so effing catchy and kitschy and awesome, I may or may not have listened to it on repeat in my car tonight. (And I mean… active listening.)

It feels like the perfect little love anthem for teenagers everywhere — prime material for a big ol’ power sing-along in your bedroom, over-emoting while gripping a hairbrush (or in your car, while gripping the wheel).

It’s the kind of song you can’t help but do a little “youth group clap and sway” to. Church kids, you know the move. The one where you clap, nod your head, and stomp on the downbeat. My God is mighty to save…he is mighty to save… (Anyone?) That song has a similar cadence, actually. So yeah.

“Mirrors” even slam-dunks the power-pop clichĂ©s with the slow clap a cappella chorus at one point. C’mon. Say what you will about he whole album, but. This. Song.

So. I’ll stop gushing and just leave you with the chorus lyrics, just in case you want to have your own sing-along moment in the privacy of your own car. Seeing them in print only highlights the cheese, sure. But a little cheese never hurt anybody…especially when it’s on some nachos that look so, so good in a tux.

Feel free sing along. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Cause I don’t wanna lose you now
I’m lookin’ right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I’ll tell you baby, it was easy
Comin’ back into you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it’s clear as this promise
That we’re making two reflections into one
Cause it’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me