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Justin Timberlake Review

Maura Rodgers, Staff Writer

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Justin Timberlake released his fifth studio  album, Man of the Woods on February 2, 2018 just before he was set to take the stage for the halftime show of SuperBowl ⅬⅡ. His new album contains 16 pop songs, but also comes with a glisten of country, blues and folk.

Timberlake wants to be thought of as an innovator, he struck success at the beginning of his solo career with “Cry Me a River,” a combination of beat-boxing and chants that is still thrilling 16 years later.  

JT took a turn in this album with a new tone and theme. When he unveiled “Man of the Woods,” he framed his new music as the product of a fusion of Southern sounds.

Instead of moving forward with a vision of pop, it morphs the sounds and genres that have become American comfort food: soul, funk, country, and disco. There are a few moments in Man of the Woods that mimic the style of his album, The 20/20 Experience, matrimonial and paternal pride, songs that keep the audience from going into pure meaninglessness.

There is a point halfway through the album where listeners realize “ modern Americana with 808s” is completely the idea of the album, and it grows thin rapidly.

“Say Something” which features Nashville’s star Chris Stapleton, offers a coherent message: “ Sometimes the greatest way to say something, is to say nothing at all.”

Father-to-son message in “Young Man,” is a combination of meaningful advice. Timberlake offers a short list of things a young man should do: stand for something, don’t back down, don’t act out, don’t stay down, and you are going to break somebody’s heart, because “that’s what we do.”

The 36-year-old singer was smart about which song to use to promote his new album. “Filthy,” a track that is part Daft-Punk and part Prince that paid to his funky origins, plus the dance-floor ready, sexy lines throughout.  He also makes a mean reggae track with Alicia Keys whose vocals shine in “Morning Light.” When “Sauce” is a track obviously for long time Timberlake fans, that brings out his excited voice, adoring his woman saying something comes over him when she comes close to him.

Timberlake didn’t reinvent himself, he is continuing an experiment with funk, R&B and soul. “Man of the Woods” is evidence that Timberlake will never stop challenging himself with new outlooks. 

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Justin Timberlake Review