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Justin Timberlake, the “Man of the Woods”

Addie Detrich, North Staff Writer

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An early 00’s icon, Justin Timberlake brought sexy back to his NSYNC fans when he released his first solo studio album “Justifiedalmost 17 years ago. His album sales have skyrocketed since then, selling 88 million albums and falling 80th place behind Johnny Cash. On Feb. 2, Timberlake released his fifth studio album, “Man of the Woods” for the world to hear.

The listener is consumed in Timberlake’s outdoors with “Filthy.” An epic beginning leads to a steamy end and ‘No This Ain’t the Clean Version.’ “Filthy” is comparable to Timberlake’s 2006 song “Sexy Back” albeit it has not reached that level of popularity. Although this was released as a single and performed at the Super Bowl LII, it does not fully meet the expectations of the songs later in the album with its lukewarm lyrics.

R&B meets funk, turning to neo-soul, with “Midnight Summer Jam” and “Sauce,” a spicy mix of  Earth Wind & Fire and Usher. The wide range of instruments in “Midnight Summer Jam” produces the perfect tune to dance the night away. Latin vibes prevail with the clapping, drums and man echoing “hablo” in the back, but is briefly interrupted by the harmonica solo, making the experience all the more exhilarating. “Sauce” begins with a man talking about the difference between juice and sauce, similar to multiple Drake songs, using the natural voice to bring it a down-to-earth ambience. The upbeat and sultry lyrics combined with the electric guitar that would usually be heard in rock music can best be described as ‘saucy.’ Timberlake’s high-pitched voice is paired perfectly with the already funky infusion in the two songs. Both seem like they could never get old with the fresh, youthful rhythms.

Sadly, when taking risks with this level of  incorporation between different genres, there has to be a small downfall, this time it is Timberlake’s seventh number on the album, “Supplies.” He must have been going for a modern day hip-hop, Latin and R&B brew, but it turned into a churning soup of clashing flavors. The whole song sounds like a Bart Baker parody, with cheesy lyrics like, “The world can end now/Baby, we’ll be living in The Walking Dead,” and even Timberlake’s voice seems nasally. Take it as a lesson that 21 Savage, Pitbull and Chris Brown should not collab.

The only two artist collaborations on the whole album, “Morning Light (feat. Alicia Keys)” and “Say Something (feat. Chris Stapleton),” fared well. “Say Something” was released as a single and is currently on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Country and R&B are paired comfortably, like many other top songs (“Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha feat. Florida Georgia Line etc.) Unlike other songs on the album, “Morning Light” did not use as many different brands.

It was forecasted for Timberlake to have an amazingly well constructed album after working on it for 3+ years, and the outlook was spot on. The compiling of genres makes the listener feel like they are entertaining themselves to a new artist every song. Youth gushes from the pores of each number, reminiscent of 20 year old Timberlake.

It is obvious that he also wanted to give the listener the feeling of being outside, as he said in multiple interviews, and it complies nicely. The album as a whole is a great listen for laying on the beach or relaxing with a partner by the lake. Man of the Woods is an album worth giving a listen.

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Addie Detrich, North Staff Writer

Hi! My name is Addie, I'm a sophomore, and this is my second year on Ruff Draft. I really like to write reviews on movies, music, and other entertainment....

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Justin Timberlake, the “Man of the Woods”