have been a fan of Justin Timberlake all of my life thanks to my slightly obsessed mother. I have fond memories of us dancing around to N-Sync and Justin’s solo debut album Justified when I was little. We used to flick through the music channels hoping to come across 'Like I Love You' playing on one of them. Those were the times.
So when JT started teasing his new album Man of the Woods on his social media at the end of last year, I was mega excited! From the snippets of songs he would tease, I could hear that his sound had changed which made me even more hyped! It sounded very much like the kind of music I have been into lately.
However, when the first single, 'Filthy', dropped, I was taken aback. It wasn’t what I expected at all. It was heavy electronic, funky and almost robotic with a rather cool music video parodying an Apple keynote, with Justin taking the role of Steve Jobs making a robot dance. At first, I really didn’t like this song, but it was a grower for me. Now I dig it, a lot!
The second single released, 'Supplies', did the same for me. It was different to what I was used to from Timberlake and upon first listen of this RnB/trap vibe track, I wasn’t fussed. To me, it was almost as if the lyrics and the melody of the song were going at two different tempos and didn’t suit each other. But yet again, it grew on me and now cannot help but to jam along to it.
The best song on this album by far is 'Say Something' with Christ Stapleton. This song is a country-based song - which you can probably tell by the collaboration with this country star. This was what I was expecting from this album as Justin said in the lead up to the album that it was going to be influenced more by his home, Memphis, Tennessee, which is known for its vast country music talent.
This is the only country song on the album and I am quite disappointed. I’m not the biggest country fan but I was excited by the concept of Justin Timberlake creating contrasting country vibes within his new material. I adore this song with its classic acoustic guitar mixed with a hint of electric guitar, awesome vocal harmonisations between the two artists as well as an element of gospel that builds up throughout the song. I also think the music video is extremely clever as is it done in just one take on one camera without stopping. I love music videos like this that actually pull it off.
That is where my praise ends for this album. I only like three out of 16 songs that are on this album and I am rather disappointed. I was sure this was going to be a big album for me and was going to end up in my 2018 top ten list. This album tries to be too much. Each song feels like it’s in a different style and it just doesn’t flow. Don’t get me wrong, I often love an album that tries different things with every song, but this doesn’t feel right. It doesn't feel Justin Timberlake.
This album was produced mostly by The Neptunes and I think that is where it falls flat for me. The Neptunes are made up of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. I don’t know what it is, but I have never liked Pharrell songs. Justin is notorious for working with epic producer Timberland for his past four albums and these two together make brilliant music. Music that is a big part of my life. But Timberland only worked on 3 songs on this album, two of which are the ones I like! What a surprise!
To me, Timberlake and Timberland are the dream duo who create banger after banger after banger. They are are a great team and nothing will beat their work when it comes to Timberlake. I’m truly disappointed by this record. What do you think about Man of the Woods? What’s your favourite song? Let me know in the comments below.