Artist: Justin Timberlake
Discography: Justified (2002), FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), The 20/20 Experience (2013), The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 (2013), and Man of the Woods (2018)
- N'Sync's 2000 album No Strings Attached sold 1.1 million copies on its first day out, and broke records when it sold 2.4 million in the first week.
- Justin founded his own record label called Tennman Records, in 2007.
- He doesn't write down his lyrics. He completed Justified without pen or paper.
- He is a four-time Emmy winner. Justin won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series award in 2009 and 2011 for hosting SNL.
“The most boring thing in the world? Silence.”
- Justin Timberlake
What happened bro?
Here it is. Justin Timberlake’s fifth studio album Man of the Woods is out. Based on his trailer, JT wants us to know he’s been out in the wilderness, out in the woods (timber), and pondering (real deep thoughts…) by the water (lake).
(cue the crickets)
He’s ventured out among mountains, trees, and campfires, wearing a massive blanket scarf and triple layers of flannel. He is now a man of the great outdoors. This whole image is oh-so blatantly inauthentic. This is, after all, the man who was bold enough to bring sexy back, who was audacious enough to wear his hair in cornrows and went on a double denim red carpet date with Britney Spears.
Did we just witness something unambiguously underwhelming?
Now, don’t get me wrong. Justin has had great tracks (read: “Strawberry Bubblegum, “Like I Love You”, “Rock Your Body”, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, “Mirrors”). The singles from his debut album Justified remain some of the best pop songs from the first half of the decade and deserve all the nostalgia at house shindigs, throwback clubs, and karaoke parties.
However, Man of the Woods feels like a misstep. It simply doesn’t hold a candle to his previous albums because the songs aren’t as colorful or as tuneful as we’ve come to expect from Mr. Timberlake.
I miss The 20/20 Experience. From the cinematic “Pusher Love Girl” to the rhythmic drive of “Let the Groove Get In”, this album was ambitious to say the least. Why is Man of the Woods a disappointment? The songs are incoherent and weird. First, there’s the album opener “Filthy”, a Prince-like-wannabe-not-so-much jam. Then there’s “Supplies”, which contains one of the worst hooks I’ve heard in a long time.
Can we also talk about the cheesy interlude “Hers” which features wife Jessica Biel saying the lines “the little holes and tears and shreds on [his shirt] are, are, are the, the memories of the past that I wasn't there for, but, that somehow I, I, I feel like I understand more when it's against my skin.” Actually, let's not talk about it.
Two gems on Man of the Woods
One thing’s for sure: work was put into this album. Even though it’s pretty bad, there are two tracks that deserve all the high-fives:
- The Alicia Keys-featured “Morning Light” (a melodic cut with a lovely groove)
- The Chris Stapleton collaboration “Say Something” (rhythm-propelled, solid strumming, and absolutely gorgeous vocals)
Perhaps Justin felt ambitious. Perhaps Justin wanted to create something unique (that he did). Who knows. It’s an album worth listening. It’s sonically eclectic. It’s definitely different. All I can say is: Make your own opinion of it. Music is a personal experience between the listener and the artist. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try.
Listen to JT's best tracks on Stingray Music: