In the revolutionary wake of The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake has released his latest musical endeavor, Man of the Woods, to the gaze of the public eye. Prior to the release, came three unusual singles that seem to blend 70’s funk, Pop, and Folk elements. The singles: Filthy, Supplies, and Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton definitely step outside the quintessential technique of Justin’s previous work .
Though Timberlake makes it a point to say “this ain’t the clean version,” in his first single Filthy, the song seems to be missing the implied riskiness and the provocative persona that fans would expect from Timberlake. For that matter, it seems to be missing a lot of familiar elements commonly used by the artist. Though the song has a distinctive twang, that does seem to be the one of the few defining factors for the tune. Listeners are left feeling misguided yet semi-uplifted as the song lacks direction, but has a steady beat. It is unclear to a listener how the choruses, interlude, and bridge all connect to form an overarching meaning. Filthy is catchy and rhythmic, and will likely succeed as a single, however, it leaves the listener slightly confused in its overly general lyrics. Though the pre-chorus was very soulful and reminiscent of The 20/20 Experience, it seems to resonate as the sole originality of the song.
Justin’s second single has represented his character and aesthetic well, while integrating elements of modern music. The apocalyptic, “walking dead,” aura is definitely conveyed in the idea that there is no one that the object of Justin’s affection need turn to but him. He has the bare necessities and more…we get it JT, you have a lot going for you. The sound is very original yet the staccato lyrics and tune are very much in line with Timberlake’s style. In terms of content, the song needed a little more depth as it resonates slightly on a surface-level. Overall, there is no doubt that this song will be all over the radio in the next few months, as its artistry is in keeping with current pop music trends.
3. Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton
Say Something is definitely much-anticipated from Justin Timberlake as his collaborations are always rich in creativity. The song features Chris Stapleton in a melody that seems to express an inspiration to speak up. This is perhaps in reference to the many controversies our culture presents, and the expectations for certain celebrities and artists to frequently weigh in. Justin expresses this inner battle with his desires to express his views, but also to steer away from the heat of conflict. The song is neither cheerful nor melancholy, but instead is a folksy mantra that highlights the importance of speaking up, but also in knowing when to remain indifferent. Chris Stapleton’s low, twangy voice unquestionably enhances the song’s depth and creates a juxtaposition of sound between his vocals and Justin’s.
4. Bonus Review: Morning Light ft. Alicia Keys
It is always a plus when JT lets his love drunk side surface once in a while. Morning Light features R&B singer Alicia Keys and is a heart-warming tune that contains similar elements to one of Justin’s previous songs, That Girl. The funky yet soulful tune is undoubtedly in reference to Justin’s it-girl wife, Jessica Biel. The song is bound to make anyone wish they were home on the couch with someone special. It allows the listener to appreciate the precious moments that we share with our significant other, and showcases both Justin Timberlake’s and Alicia Keys’ musical talents. The mesh of R&B and modern funk definitely creates a fresh and enamoring melody.
Without a doubt, Man of The Woods will be an instant hit among pop listeners across the globe, however some may contend that, in its entirety, the album fails to showcase Justin Timberlake’s aptitude for composition. The album has already received critical and editorial responses in regards to its incoherence. The blend of JT’s traditional pop with folk and 70’s funk creates an odd blend to which not everyone has responded positively. It is likely that the tracks consistent with his known aesthetic will be the most successful. Yet overall, the integrity of Man of the Woods, will be received as fresh and original in the ever-changing expectations of the music industry.