Who doesn't love classic seasonal songs? We dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in October. We sing to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" in December. Now, if YouTube charts are any indication, we can add an unexpected song to the mix for April: "It's Gonna Be Me" by 'NSYNC. Thanks to the power of social media, the boy band's music video has become a seasonal springtime favorite to ring in the month of May. It all started with a meme about Justin Timberlake's unusual pronunciation of the word "me" in the song that first hit the radio in the summer of 2000.
According to USA Today, the daily plays of "It's Gonna Be Me" by 'NSYNC multiply 5.2 times on April 30. Plus, the number of YouTube searches for "gonna be me" increases sevenfold on April 30 as compared to a typical day. In fact, the spike from views of the throwback music video boosts the numbers of other 'NSYNC music videos, as well. The views of 'NSYNC's music videos spike up 23% on April 30, while the social-media shares of their music videos increase 26% on that day.
The fact that the song gains traction on April 30 suggests a direct correlation to a funny meme that jokes about Justin Timberlake's pronunciation of the word "me." The joke plays on a phenomenon called the mondegreen, which is a fancy term to describe a misinterpretation of words that is a result of mishearing lyrics. Anyone who has ever listened to "It's Gonna Be Me" can attest to the fact that Timberlake's vocal performance shifts the pronunciation of "me" into "May." In January 2012, a Tumblr user posted a photo of Justin Timberlake with the caption "It's gonna be May." That picture became a viral meme, and since then, there have been several variations of the idea. Check out the original meme here:
The meme has become so popular that even Justin Timberlake himself tweeted about it this year, and his tweet received more than 300,000 retweets and 535,000 likes on Twitter. Yes, the Internet lost its mind because the singer simply wrote,
Hey guys... it's May.
As of May 2017, the "It's Gonna Be Me" music video has racked up more than 56 million views on Youtube. In case you would like to add to that amount and get a reminder of the song that started the meme, here is the music video:
So, unlike MJ's or MC's tracks, this JT-driven song really has nothing to do with a holiday or time of year. Still, it looks like the meme and music video will continue to be an April 30th staple for years to come.