17. 'N Sync "Gone" (2001)
Producer: Justin Timberlake, Wade J. Robson
"Gone" may be billed an 'N Sync song, but it's essentially the debut of Justin Timberlake as a solo artist.
It was the opposite of any record they had done before; they weren't doing flips and hanging from strings on this track. They were finally letting their vocals do all the work. A stripped-down beat with only a string section and percussion made the lyrics of this song all the more heartfelt. It was like we were in the abandoned house with them during the video. The song was even a mainstay on urban radio.
"Gone" was also the first video by an all-white boy band featured on BET's 106 & Park. It's clear Justin was destined for the hip-hop and R&B world at that point. —Tannis Spencer