There are few things in this world that can build anticipation like a new Justin Timberlake release, and I’d say he’s earned that with a phenomenal string of solo releases (apart from part 2 of 20/20 which I wasn’t feeling that much). But, while Man of the Woods quickly shot up my list of anticipated albums when it was announced, none of the lead singles going into the project had me really excited by what I was hearing. There was just nothing there that grabbed me or stood out from what’s already out there, and that’s a feeling I had throughout the entirety of the album. I guess going the more stripped down, grounded, ‘all-Americana’ route is the new trend for pop stars after having massive success in the pop realm (Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, etc.), and I get why an artist would want to shake things up a bit, but it’s a turn that few have been able to make work. As I initially feared, Justin Timberlake just sounds like a guy ‘playing’ country for the sake of something new instead of it sounding genuine. He tries to blend the best of both worlds of pop and country and the result is something that doesn’t do either particularly well. His ‘sexy’ songs are laughably tame and his more ‘country’ fare comes off as hokey and corny. There are a few moments here and there, and his one true country collab is the best song on the album (“Say Something”), but overall Man of the Woods is his worst project yet. I’d suggest a quicker turnaround than 5 years this time to help wash the bad taste away.
“And now my circle of friends got tighter
I don’t have time no more
Look, I’m only fuckin’ with you, for real
And baby, you can have it all
Take whatever you want, take whatever you want“
Have you heard Man of the Woods? What’d you think about it? Do you think Justin Timberlake needs to get back with Timbaland? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions the album.
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