Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds Review
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 09.21.2006
Bringing "Sexy Back" has already become a new pop culture phrase and the album just came out. Sure it will sell a few million copies, but will it be another pop "flavor of the season" or will it actually be a good album?
FROM DISNEY CHANNEL TO CAMERON DIAZ
Justin Timberlake grew up in Millington, a small town just north of Memphis. In 1993, He got his first taste of fame when he joined the ranks of The Mickey Mouse Club. There he met future girlfriend and pop superstar Britney Spears, future tourmate Christina Aguilera and, perhaps most importantly, future bandmate JC Chasez. When the show ended in 1995, Timberlake recruited Chasez to be in a new all-male singing group he was forming with friend Chris Kirkpatrick. The group would come to be known as 'N Sync.
The group formed in 1995 and started their career 1996 in Germany and hit it big in the States two years later in 1998, eventually releasing the fastest-selling album of all time, No Strings Attached in 2000. In 2002, after the completion of their Celebrity Tour and release of "Girlfriend", the third single from their 2001 album Celebrity, the group decided to take time off, at which point Timberlake began work on his first solo album. He hoped the album would shed him of his squeaky-clean boyband image in favor of a sexier, more mature look and sound. Around this same time, in March of 2002, Timberlake split from longtime girlfriend and fellow popstar Britney Spears. The breakup heavily influenced Timberlake's writing for his upcoming album, as many songs touched on the topic, most notably the hit single "Cry Me A River".
Justin Timberlake released his first debut solo album, "Justified," on November 5, 2002. The album was also a success, despite selling considerably less than previous 'N Sync efforts. It got off to a rocky start, but eventually went on to sell over 3.5 million copies in the US and over 7 million copies worldwide. The album spun off hits throughout late 2002 and 2003, including the top ten singles "Cry Me A River" and "Rock Your Body."
In February 2004, during the halftime show of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, Timberlake performed with Janet Jackson before a television audience of over 140 million viewers. At the end of the performance, Timberlake tore off a part of Jackson's black leather costume in a "costume reveal" meant to accompany a portion of the song lyrics, "gonna have you naked by the end of this song." Part of the costume became detached, and Jackson's breast was briefly exposed.
Meanwhile, he continued to record with other artists. After working on Black Eyed Peas' "Where Is The Love?", he again collaborated with them again on the 2005 track "My Style" from their album Monkey Business. Additionally, Timberlake was featured on Nelly's song, "Work It," which was remixed and included on Nelly's 2003 remix album. When recording the 2005 single "Signs" with Snoop Dogg, Timberlake discovered a throat condition. Nodules were subsequently removed from his throat in an operation that took place on May 5, 2005. He was advised not to sing or speak loudly for at least a few months. In the summer of 2005, Timberlake started his own record company, JayTee Records and is currently dating actress Cameron Diaz.
Timberlake had a cameo in Nelly Furtado and Timbaland's video for her single "Promiscuous". He now releases his second solo album, which will be entitled "FutureSex/LoveSounds". The album is produced by Timbaland, will.i.am, Rick Rubin, and Timberlake himself, and features guest vocals from Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Nelly Furtado. The lead single, "SexyBack," came out in early July and shot to number 1 in August, making it his most successful single to date.
Will be it be his most successful album to date as well?
THE ALBUM: "FUTURESEX/LOVESOUNDS"
Lets take a look at the track list of "FutureSex/LoveSounds":
411: The album starts out of with a very produced mellow track. Justin's voice drones over the music to a nice compliment. The chorus changed the pace of the song and it's a bit off setting. The mellow track and droning voice is a welcomed change from what I've heard of his past work. It has qualities of Prince that I've never seen anyone muster up before. I've not listened in a while, but the chorus reminds me of Prince's "The New Power Generation." No complaints about that at all. Rating: 9.0
2. Sexyback (featuring Timbaland)
411: The track you've already heard. Numerous times. The reason we've all heard it so much is because what else in pop music is there for us to be exposed to? This is one of the best pop songs to hit the radio in quite some time. You can judge the song by the fact that IS a pop song and it IS Justin Timberlake, but there's so much going on in the track and so much skill that it shouldn't be ignored. I will say that there's definite "edge" to the track. JT even busts out the "MFer." Rating: 9.5
3. Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk to You Prelude
411: Funky beat? Yep. And we're off! At about 2:15 into the track the synth kicks in that completely brings me back to the 80's era of pop. Musically, this is a very strong track, but lyrically it sorta lacks. Nothing to write home about, but I bet this ends up being a single. The Prelude starts with "My love. My love. My love" being chanted over and over again. The main music sounds like Justin is banging a spoon against his milk glass. The back and forth vocals between JT and what sounds like Timba are interesting, but the spoon/chime sounds are too distracting. Rating: 8.0
4. My Love (featuring T. I.)
411: The music starts off with what sounds like very generic techno/new wave music. With the track entitled "My Love," I'm sure you can guess that it is a ballad. T.I.'s contributions add good contrast to the usual ballad motif. There's very few ballads that have unique lyrics and this track is no different. It's not mediocre in the least bit, but it's just not as memorable as a "Cry me a River." Rating: 7.0
5. Lovestoned/I Think She Knows Interlude
411: "Lovestoned" is one of the catchiest songs I've heard in a while. It's got the danceable beat and unique lyric setting that's going to make this a big single. The "I Think She Knows Interlude" is a bit too good to just be an interlude. It's softer and not as "produced" as the other tracks thus far, but it's got a genuine quality that makes you want to hear more. Rating: 9.5
6. What Goes Around.../...Comes Around Interlude
411: A slower ballad that's again done well. The chorus is addicting and gets stuck in your head. The two songs blend into each other with a slight bridge in between. The only difference is that towards the end is a bit faster, but not by much. It works. Rating: 7.5
7. Chop Me Up (featuring Three 6 Mafia and Timbaland)
411: Three 6 Mafia opens with the traditional "Yeah!" and "Three Six Mafia" type of random banter as the back track goes. Justin's vocals and attitude gets a bit more forceful and it's a nice contrast to softer and R and B style of the album. Timbaland's verse in the song is actually the best part of the song and easily his best guest spot since the old days of early Missy Elliot. The Three 6 verse comes at the end and seems tacked on just to use the "name" on the album. It would have been fine without them having a verse at all and no one would have noticed. Rating: 8.5
8. Damn Girl (featuring will.i.am)
411: His vocals are very high in this track. VERY much like older Prince. It's got a groove filled funk track that gets your legs moving. The will.i.am verse is one of my favorite vocals of his to date. The chorus of "Damn Girl. Damn Girl. Damn Girl. Damn Girl. Damn Girl. Damn." is a bit lame, but the rest of the track makes up for it. Rating: 8.0
9. Summer Love/Set the Mood Prelude
411: The Summer Love section of the track is an upbeat, dance ballad. Vocally and lyrically it's not as bland as most songs that are similar in the genre. The Set the Mood portion is exactly what it is, It's a very soft and soulful ballad that has an annoying finger snapping track in the background. Rating: 7.0
10. Until the End of Time (featuring Benjamin Orchestra Wright)
411: This track is a slower ballad type of song reminiscent of a Marvin Gaye type of sound. It's true R and B and Justin does it very well. Rating: 7.5
11. Losing My Way
411: Help! Justin Timberlake is lost! The track starts out with what would be a typical R and B pop song, but then JT busts out a full southern choir to back him up. I really didn't expect that. I mean that in a good way. I was sorta just listening and waiting for it to end and then the new dimension of the choir made me enjoy it a lot more. Rating: 8.0
12. (Another Song) All Over Again
411: Justin pours his heart out in the final retail track of the album. It's a slow piano soul felt song that musically reminds of me "Hey Jude." It may not be on that level, but same amount of passion is heard in Justin's voice. A song like this is totally not my cup of tea, but I can't deny the emotion in this one. Rating: 8.5
13. Pose (featuring Snoop Dogg) (Bonus Track)
411: Starts with the Snoop talk. This is a more upbeat dance type of song where JT asks "Will you pose for my camera?" Snoop chimes in about half way though with "Head. Shoulders. Feet. And Toes. Work that Body. Go and Pose." It sounds silly in text, but Snoop pulls it off. It's a pretty good song about JT and Snoop taking pictures of naked women. I kid you not! It's pretty entertaining. I hope this is a single and I have no idea why it wasn't included with the normal tracks. It's a definite "Bonus Track." Rating: 9.0
14. SexyBack (Remix) (featuring Clipse) (Bonus Track)
411: Clipse starts off with a quick rap to the remix. The beat is more "poppy" in the way of Clipse's usual type of backtracks and not in a genre way. There's not much difference other than that for this track from the original. It's slightly different and maybe slightly more danceable. Rating: 9.5
Overall Rating: 8.5
The 411: I must admit, it's surprisingly really good for a pop album. It reminds me of old school Michael Jackson with a hint of Prince and a dash of Bowie essence. For someone that's not into the pop scene, this album was not only a surprise but very impressive. He channels all the right influences and adds his own twist and style to it all. With some tracks being broken up into interludes and preludes, one must think that these are just tracks that didn't make the album. I think it's safe to say that those little extras and the Bonus Tracks should have been kept in tact because they're some of the best parts of the album. JT is has enough experience to avoid a sophomore jinx, and it's proven in full in this album.