Although an 'NSYNC reunion is looking less and less likely, the group's two most prominent members are collaborating.

Justin Timberlake, whose second solo album FutureSex/LoveSounds is due September 12 (see "Justin Previews New Tracks At Hollywood Show With Help From Will.I.Am, Timbaland"), is among the producers contributing to JC Chasez's sophomore effort.

"He and I have written three or four songs now that I kind of put a producer hat on for, which was an honor, because in my opinion, he had the best voice out of all of us," Timberlake revealed recently. "Out of all the boy bands, call 'em what you will, he was the one that could out-sing all of us. ... And I've known him since I was 10, so it was fun to sit behind the board and push him."

Chasez has described the yet-untitled follow-up to Schizophrenic, due in early 2007, as more focused (see "JC Chasez Promises Next Solo Outing Will Be Less Schizophrenic"), and Timberlake is proud to take some credit for that direction.

"I remember our conversations about it, I said, 'You're too talented for your own brain,' " Timberlake recalled. "I think that when you have that much talent and you can sing so many different styles, you want to sing all of them. And so what we did in the studio is, I really feel like we zoned in on a specific thing for him and it really came out. Not only do I really think they're good songs, good pop records, but they build a character for him."

While Schizophrenic merged genres from R&B to electronica to rock, the new album is solely "pop-alternative," as Chasez has dubbed it.

"You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't give it a specific style, you give people too much room to compare you to everyone else," Timberlake said. "And I definitely saw that with the first record."

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Along with candidly discussing Chasez's music, Timberlake also opened up about fellow 'NSYNC star Lance Bass, who recently announced he is gay (see " 'NSYNC's Lance Bass Reveals He's Gay: 'I'm Not Ashamed ... I Don't Think It's Wrong' "). Timberlake said he breathed a sigh of relief for his friend.

"I think Lance is one of the greatest people I know, and I'm just happy that he had self-acceptance over this because I'm sure it's hard," Timberlake said. "The guy grew up in the Bible Belt, you know, so just as his friend, you want that for him. You want him to be OK and live his life. I think that a lot of the boy bands, and they date back, you know, a little ways, I think that they all sign up for a certain thing and — this might be me assuming too much — but I think that a lot of them buy into that illusion as well. Especially when you have to live it and it's not who you really are. So I'm happy for him."

Timberlake also addressed the recent interview he did with the U.K.'s Observer Music Monthly magazine, in which he said he's taken drugs and that "nicotine is more addictive than heroin."

"I'll just say this, and I'm not attacking anyone, but the interesting thing about a lot of magazine interviews that you do is that you get asked questions, and you get asked them a specific way, and you have a specific way [of answering], like we're having a conversation, and you make a statement like, 'It's a proven fact that nicotine is more addictive than heroin,' " he explained. "And then you keep going through the conversation and then they ask you another question and you say, 'Look, I'm not here to preach to anybody, I just say don't do anything in excess, don't get carried away with anything.' The next thing I see is like, 'Heroin is safer than cigarettes.' And I'm like, 'Who in their right mind would think that?'

"The thing you have to realize and not get bent out of shape about is the press is gonna say what the press wants to say," he continued. "And they're gonna make a big deal out of the things they want to make a big deal out of. I know what I said. I know how I said it. If the conversation was printed there would be no room for misquote or error. But you can't worry about it. At the end of the day, who cares? The only thing I care about is that I can get my music out."

Timberlake cares enough that he does not discuss current or past relationships with the media, although he has publicly wished the best for Britney Spears.

"I get approached a lot in print interviews about her," Justin said of Britney. "It's such a part of my life that was so long ago to me that I prefer not to talk about it anymore because it's giving it too much weight. And again, it's like the comment I made in the U.K. press, it's always misconstrued. But the truth of the matter is, I really do wish her well and I do want to see her win."

For more on Timberlake, including his explanation for not re-forming 'NSYNC, check out "Justin's Future Shock." Or look for Justin on the road through September 1.

Justin Timberlake tour dates, according to Jive Records:

  • 8/17 - Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
  • 8/19 - Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theatre
  • 8/20 - Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
  • 8/22 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
  • 8/24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
  • 8/25 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
  • 8/26 - Boston, MA @ Avalon
  • 8/31 - New York, NY @ Roseland Ballroom
  • 9/1 - Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom