It’s that time of year again, when you can expect to see the "It’s Gonna Be May" meme all over your feeds. The new month on the horizon means that there’s no stopping the trend now, so whether you love it, hate it, or love to hate it like most of the internet, you should probably prepare yourself. This joke is now six years into its journey from a throwaway line in an *NSYNC video to being firmly embedded in the cultural zeitgeist, so it’s hardly a surprise that it’s collected some critics along the way. Even if you loved the meme the first time around, you might not love it the seventh time around. And if that’s the case, you’re in very good company, because even anti-It’s-Gonna-Be-May-ers tend to celebrate the April 30 anniversary with a shady tweet or two.
According to TIME, the "It’s Gonna Be May" meme first cropped up in 2012, 12 years after the debut of the song that it’s based on: *NSYNC’s "It’s Gonna Be Me." In the 2000 track, a young Justin Timberlake sang the titular line with such an aggressive twang that it transformed the lyric from "it’s gonna be me" into something that sounded a lot more like "it’s gonna be may." From the moment that the mondegreen — the word for misunderstood lyrics — was pointed out, it caught fire.
Know Your Meme reports that the first noted image of Timberlake with "It’s Gonna Be May" emblazoned across it was uploaded to Tumblr in January 2012. But by March of the same year, BuzzFeed had already written a post that made the connection between the O.G. meme and the end of April, the image went viral, and thus, a star was born.
For those first few years, the meme was pretty much universally beloved, as folks couldn’t help but be delighted by the play on words when they saw it for the first time. (Even President Obama’s team posted about it in 2014.) The band embraced it too, unofficially proclaiming April 30 "It’s Gonna Be May Day," though they broke up years before the meme was ever created. This year, the fivesome — Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick — will even accept a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the fateful day in 2018.
For his part, Timberlake dutifully posts about the anniversary once a year, and was even compelled to reenact the moment during an interview in 2016. But not everyone is as enthused. Some people prefer to celebrate the supposed holiday in their own way, by wishing it would go away.
But as is often the case with the internet, the critical posts are often just as hilarious as the original meme they’re poking fun at, so it’s really a win-win. Just take a look at some of this year’s tweets from "It’s Gonna Be May" critics and try not to laugh.
Smash That Mute Button
No matter what steps you take, no one’s feed is safe.
Please be safe during this trying time.
One Final Warning
Violence is never the answer, not even on April 30.
Completely New Information
It’s gonna be sarcasm.
Over The Moon
That glare means you love it, right?
Don’t pretend like you don’t miss it.
There Are No Second Warnings
You don’t need that positivity in your life.
Who’re You Calling "Normal"?
What are sports?
At the end of the day, for some people, posting the meme is tradition. But for others, the tradition has become hating on the meme — or loving to hate on it, if they’re being honest with themselves. But both are equally enjoyable, so no matter how you celebrate saying "Bye Bye Bye" to April, Happy It’s Gonna Be May Day to the whole wide internet.
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