We don't want to alarm any teenagers — or, for that matter, open-minded old farts like us — but when 'N Sync unveils its follow-up to 2001's Celebrity, the boy band may have said bye, bye, bye to the dirty pop that we've come to know and love. "I've been listening to a lot of different things lately — John Mayer and stuff like that," scruffy singer Joey Fatone tells TV Guide Online, hinting that the easy listening on his iPOD today could wind up on the group's record tomorrow.

"But who knows what's going to happen in the next couple of months?" he continues. "Somebody might come out with a different album and change the whole [notion]."

While the Fame host and his posse of pals have yet to settle on a sound for their upcoming platter, this he promises us: They at least have agreed on a timetable to begin getting into a groove. "We're starting in September," he reveals. "We'll be getting together and writing then, and hopefully we'll be done [in the studio] around the end of the year. Then we'll come out with the album around the beginning of [2004]."

And since Justin Timberlake and Co. know that keeping their fans in the dark about 'N Sync's new direction is bound to tear up their hearts, Fatone is quick to reassure the gang's groupies that whatever he and the guys come up with, it'll be good for them. "It's kind of hard to say right now," he acknowledges. "But I think when we get together and the gears start turning, we'll work out a good idea."