It has been almost five years since we last saw Justin Timberlake drop the sonically powerful 20/20 Experience. The newest addition to Timberlake’s catalog, Man of the Woods, leaves a little more to be desired.
Ever since the release of the LP’s first single, “Filthy,” it seemed to give a salute to his FutureSex/LoveSounds days with all of it’s electronic magic. However, between the Jessica Biel-laced interludes that peek through the album, the last portion of the song leads Timberlake’s sound into a completely different direction.
Part of the teaser video for this widely anticipated release shows Timberlake saying through shots of him in nature scenes, “This album is really inspired by my son, my wife, my family; but more so than any other album I’ve ever written: where I’m from. And it’s personal.” However, where the LP promises a sonic concept, it falls short.
There are moments where on this new LP where Timberlake knows how to masterfully weave in his message with his music, such as the Alicia Key-assisted “Morning Light.” Another album highlight.
“Flannel” strips Timberlake’s vocals to the perfect campfire tune about love and devotion, singing, “May we live for many winters keeping each other warm.”
Album highlights “Montana” and “Young Man” show Timberlake at his most vulnerable on the record and it gives you the new sound he promised in his teaser. Both tunes draw inspiration from his family, especially his son, Silas. He croons,“One day I’ll be gone, son, but right now I’m home. No, you’ll never be alone.” These are the moments on the record when Timberlake finds his footing because it ties in perfectly with the album’s concept: family and roots.
While these vulnerable moments are essential towards the record, there definitely are some hit-or-miss moments on it. An example of this, ironically, is the title track. While the lyrics capture the spirit of the album, the instrumental behind the track seems a little off.
Another song that feels misplaced from the rest of the record is the thumping hit, “Supplies.” After releasing this song as his second single, the song proves to be a departure from the rest of the LP sonically. While not to say it is necessarily a bad song, it seems to fit more of the FutureSex generation Timberlake rather than the Timberlake of today.
Man of the Woods has shown both the good and bad of Timberlake’s new sound, but it does develop the newfound growth he has been experiencing in life, marriage and as a father. Though the album may not be as cohesive as desired, it leaves an emotional punch.
Man of the Woods is available for purchase and streaming on all major distributors. Timberlake’s Man of the Woods tour kicks off in Toronto this March, and continues across North America. Tickets can be purchased here.
Check out the music video for “Supplies” below!