Justin Timberlake

Jive, 2006


REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Just in time for the holidays, I found myself converted… no, not to Christianity or even Scientology but – possibly even more shocking – to a Justin Timberlake fan!  (Maybe it’s the eggnog?)

Okay, so I may have missed the boat on all things teenybopper, including N*Sync. And by the time Timberlake went solo on 2002’s Justified, I had already immersed myself in classic rock and wouldn’t emerge from my Queen-induced haze until discovering the joys of indie rock in 2005. But then it happened: I found myself actually enjoying this disc. Maybe it had to do with hearing it on repeat for, oh, about seven hours straight at work. Or maybe it’s because the now notorious “SexyBack” is just insanely infectious. Either way, I’m starting to see just how Timberlake came to dethrone Michael Jackson as the king of pop. 

If Justified was the album that managed to shed Timberlake’s boy-band persona, gaining him some much-needed credibility, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 FutureSex/LoveSounds (ridiculous title aside) is the follow-up that has erased any notion of a sophomore slump. Produced almost entirely by Timbaland, it’s got everything from tongue-in-cheek posturing (“SexyBack,” of course), carnal calls to arms (the album’s title track) all deftly mixed with a few of Timberlake’s usual borderline sappy ballads.

Only this time, even the most sentimental material is beefed up with a swaggering hip-hop edge. Just check out hyperactive second single “My Love:” Each line is a gushing proposal in itself (“This ring here represents my heart / but there is just one thing I need from you / saying I do”) but the production is slick with stuttering synths and a shimmering beat. 

Of course, all of this only paves the way for the album’s standout “What Goes Around” and its companion “Comes Around.” Safe to say, it’s the epic sequel to Justified’s “Cry Me A River;” this time around, though, the morose heartbreak has given way to a subtle dose of fuck you. Replete with layers of swirling keyboards and a swelling outro, Timberlake digs “I heard you found out that he’s doing to you what you did to me / Ain’t that the way it goes… girl, you got what you deserved.”

Elsewhere, the beats are just as strong. Even though the lyrics on “Summer Love” are beyond cheesy, its powerhouse synths give way to Timberlake’s charismatic vocals. Even the album’s major misstep “Losing My Way” is so well-intentioned, it’s hard to hate. Hoping to deter crack addicts, the track busts out a gospel choir among its numerous laughable lines (“Hi, my name is Bob and I work at my job” and “But now I got a problem with that little white rock / see, I can’t put down the pipe” among others). But somehow, owing to Timberlake’s pleading charm, it manages to evade absolute disastrousness.

Who knew such disposable pop gems as “Bye Bye Bye” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart” could give way to a worldwide superstar actually deserving of his acclaim? A collaboration for the ages, Timberlake and Timbaland have spun pop on its head; though it’s probably not saying much, this release’s lowest moments soar light years above recent chart fodder. So, I’ll supply the music if you guys bring the eggnog.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Must have been the eggnog because this boy has no talent. I can't find it anywhere in his music, and I use that term loosely. Don't like him, don't understand anyone's interest in him. He's limited, confined and just plain bad.

© 2007 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jive, and is used for informational purposes only.