Justin Timberlake is a man of many talents, but his greatest asset is that he has no shame.
Sing about putting your dick in a box? No problem.
Ruin Janet Jackson’s reputation? EASY.
Diss Prince and then have a Release Party at Paisley Park when Prince is too dead to complain? DONE.
Timberlake will never lose because he won’t allow himself to see any move as a bad one. Any mistake made isn’t his fault so he bears no responsibility. He's like Kurt Angle when he first joined the WWE.
This has lead to some great music, FutureSex LoveSounds is a classic. Unfortunately this lack of shame has lead to some mediocre shit.
Enter Man of The Woods.
Man of the Woods sounds like some real safe “dangerous” music. Like “hey let’s do some drugs! Actually wait we have work tomorrow” music. Justin and his team experiment with sounds that we’ve already heard, and the result is ehh, ok?
It’s not trash by any means, there’s too much money in it to be trash, it’s just ok. There’s a couple bops and a lot of songs you’ll hear in a Patagonia.
This the album you play when you have missionary sex on a Thursday night. Like it’s cool, it does the job, but you aren’t ecstatic after the fact.
What really stops this from being good is the clear pivot Justin’s making. Maybe I’m trippin but it feels like ever since November 2017 (some) white artists have attempted to appeal to a more “American” base. They take the essence of Black music and strip away the soul so it’s not as spicy for the masses. It’s a disturbing reach.
This is the music that plays at an H&M board meeting where they greenlit a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie.
I’m not saying it’s gotta be rah rah Black Lives Matter shit but, if you owe a majority of your success to Black music, you gotta pay your respect, and this album sounds like Justin ran out on the tab.
There are some nice sounding songs though; Justin Timberlake is a talented guy, but this ain’t it. I give it 4 and Half LL Bean Duckboots out of 9.