Playlist of the Week: The Greatest Super Bowl Halftime Show of All Time

I tried to think of a good “Playlist of the Week” theme relating to football since the BIG GAME is this Sunday. But unlike baseball, the far superior sport, there are no songs about football. Maybe I’ll write “Take Me Down To the Gridiron” but I probably won’t because I don’t care that much.
So instead of a football playlist, I created a half time show playlist based on the greatest Super Bowl Halftime Show of all time.
Have there been some very great SBHTSs recently? Yes. But, no offense to other SBHTSs, but the 2001 SBHTS was the greatest SBHTS of all time.


The 2001 SBHTS was double-billed to feature both NSYNC and Aerosmith, but after five songs it devolves into the perfect encapsulation of everything great about the year 2001.
The 2001 SBHTS begins with a skit featuring Ben Stiller in character as White Goodman from Dodgeball, which I don’t understand because Dodgeball wasn’t released until 2004? Anyways, Stiller concludes the introduction by screaming in Lance Bass and Steven Tyler’s faces “You are AeroSync!!” birthing the greatest musical mashup since The Travelling Wilburys.
Next thing you know thousands of little tweens start swarming the stage on the same football field where the Baltimore Ravens would later raise the Lombardy Trophy. (Oh yea, there was a football game that night.)
NSYNC opens the show with “Bye Bye Bye,” doing their best puppet mimicry made famous in the song’s iconic music video. Of all the boy bands who have been around in my lifetime, NSYNC was by far the best dancers, which is important to their legacy.
Interesting Justin Timberlake was the biggest star of NSYNC, but he doesn’t get a solo in the band’s SBHTS opener. It’s okay though because JT would go on to have a much more memorable SBHTS in his future.
(Although, if we’re being honest I bet JT remembers his 2001 SBHTS performance much more fondly than his 2004 performance.)
Back to the show. Why would Aerosmith open their portion with “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”? Because it’s an absolute banger. It’s not just a stadium anthem, it is THE stadium anthem. There are no Imagine Dragons or FUN. if Aerosmith does not write the lead single to Armageddon.
NSYNC returns with “It’s Gonna Be Me,” and it makes me miss concerts where you the music is drowned out by hear the screams of 13 year old girls in the background.
NSYNC’s choreography was a lot of puppet mimicry. They’re most famous for donning puppet costumes in the “Bye Bye Bye” music video, but if we’re being honest their choreo in every song was a bit one-note. A lot of popping. A lot of locking. Still better dancers than Backstreet Boys though. I said it.
They get to the end of the song and out of nowhere Steven Tyler belts “IT’S GONNA BE ME!!!” My jaw dropped. It also really threw off the 13 year olds. Like when you and your friends are doing karaoke at the sleepover and your dad comes downstairs and insists on doing just one Creed song.
Anyways, the show continues with Aerosmith performing Jaded.
I’m trying really hard to figure out what group of people in 2001 were equally as big a fans of Aerosmith as NSYNC. Like what was the age, gender, and occupation of someone who could identify both Joe Perry and Joey Fatone? I want to meet those people.
Aerosmith gets to the end of Jaded and, PLOT TWIST, JT is the one who belts “I’m the one that jaded you.”
(English major gripe: It should be “I’m the one WHO jaded you,” but I digress.)
But get it? Cause a member of Aerosmith sang the last line from the NSYNC song and then a member of NSYNC sang the last line of the Aerosmith song? That, my friends, is called cohesion.
It’s at the end of this song the two groups come together to truly form AEROSYNC, and it is at that moment when this SBHTS truly goes off the rails. It’s incredible. The music to “Walk This Way” begins, so you know it’s happening. NSYNC hops on stage and truly has NO idea what they’re doing. They’re just kinda bopping around, watching Steven Tyler. Smiling from ear to ear. It’s actually very charming.
And then…
BRITNEY!!!!
Ms. Spears comes out of nowhere. She’s wearing a crop top, her patented low-rise britches, and a sock on her lower arm like a shooting sleeve because 2000s fashion was the best.
She does a verse. Then her and JT look all couply and cute as they bop down the catwalk singing together. Chris Kirkpatrick awkwardly joins. I’m sure it was not the first time he was an awkward third wheel in that relationship.
As if that wasn’t enough, the camera goes back to Steven Tyler and he’s sharing a microphone is Mary J. Blige! She doesn’t really do anything, but she’s there. (If I have gripe about this near perfect SBHTS it’s that they don’t give Mary J. Blige enough to do. You couldn’t have given her one ad lib run? Come on now.)
And then, the song keeps going and NELLY runs out and starts rapping a verse from “E.I.” over the “Walk This Way” music.
(It’s hard to tell, but I know it’s verse from E.I. because Nelly says “I’m a sucker for cornrows and manicured toes” which is what bothers me about E.I. a whole lot because how do you manicure toes?????)
Anyways, the entire group eventually joins together again in the center, the song ends, Britney and her sock sleeve kill it. NSYNC and their puppet moves kill it. Nelly and his manicured toes kill it. Mary J. Blige is just kinda there not allowed to kill it, which is a shame. And Aerosmith kills it and it is the greatest Super Bowl Half Time Show of all time.
There is a playlist of the five songs from the show right down there, plus a couple others from each group I added because they’re songs I just love. Enjoy and happy footballing! 🙂

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/1A8el1kfJUAYqo2R24WNbe

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