Justin Timberlake - Man of the Woods
Justin Timberlake, the dream man of most 90s sweethearts, has released another album: Man of the Woods. Unfortunately, it seems that Timberlake indeed got lost in the woods while making this album. The album, based on the title and the song “Say Something” with Chris Stapleton, led us to believe he was stripping his music down. However, it sounds like Timberlake decided to make some beats and then randomly add lyrics to them. He is trying to cling to this pop/ballad form that worked in the early 2000s but doesn’t fly in pop music today. He also proceeds to mix singing and rapping in almost every one of his songs on this album. He has a great voice with a lot of control and should show that off more than his rapping ability (or lack thereof). This makes most of these songs confusing to the listener and doesn’t make the album flow well.
Justin Timberlake has had a phenomenal career and has constantly been on top. In recent years he’s mostly released singles and been doing movies like Trolls, and Wonder Wheel. This is the first album he has released since The 20/20 Experience in 2013. You would think that he would have only grown from there. Receiving praise for this neo-soul styling that he had that showed of his voice seemed like he was moving in a great direction. The time he took from the release of his last album and this one has dulled his skills. He still has an incredible range and vocal control, but the overall sound and structure of his songs have taken a dive in this album.
This is the first song on the album and one of my favorites. It’s got a really nice rock jam beginning. It builds up the song nicely to then drop into the groovy bass line complimented by the beat machine. The lyrics are enjoyable because they are descriptive and metaphorical about sex without being too sleazy. All in all, a good start to the album.
The title song of the album should be an all-star hit, but this one isn’t. It tries to combine this country twang sound with modern beats. It’s almost like Timberlake got a drum pad, called up Jack Johnson for some guitar riffs and then sat in the woods and wrote this. The lyrics are also lacking substance and creativity because they’re essentially, saying: ‘Look at me, I’m a man who likes the woods.’ It does not bode well for the rest of the album when the title song hits a real low note compared to others on the album.
This was released January 25th as a single and is the song that he should have based the album on. It is Timberlake broken down and singing his heart out. It’s got this great acoustic guitar riff that keeps the song grounded in a good place. The chorus has a good beat that goes with it to bring in some pop influence. Chris Stapleton is also a great addition to the song and brings that country sound. The lyrics are also great because they are talking about being caught up in the midst of love. It’s not overly powerful or monotonous, yet pretty charming. It’s a perfect song that could have set the whole tone of the album.
This is my favorite song on the album. There’s a great drum beat that starts you grooving from the get-go. Timberlake then sings his soul through this song. Alicia Keys accompanies him and is a phenomenal addition to the track. She adds a new level to the song. Her voice is so sultry and smooth in the song that it feels like a blanket of sound around you. The song’s beat is relaxed and makes you feel like you are on a cloud as these two angels sing above you. The song is broken down with one beat and two veteran singers who continuously entice your ears.
All in all, Man of the Woods falls flat. There are some redeeming moments on the album, but you can’t base the ranking of an album on a few songs. This album doesn’t seem like it was made at once. It feels like a bunch of pieces were added together to put something out to his listeners. Timberlake could have given us a huge hit right before the Superbowl, but he leaves us wanting so much more. I would give this album a 4/10 and wouldn’t recommend buying it.