Monday, February 8, 2010

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
Published 2006

I have a confession to make.  I unabashedly love Justin Timberlake.  We're going to get married on top of a mountain and you're not invited.  I think that he is actually a pretty good artist, and he makes pop songs that are not rivaled today by anybody.

Yeah, I'm a bitch.  I know.  I don't like Metallica, but I love Justin Timberlake.  I have no reason for why that is, other than this record.

First off, this was the first full pop record that actually was interesting to me.  As a proud owner of a model 1989 little sister, I've experienced all pop music through her.  I've listened to way more Spice Girls than I care to remember, I remember LFO being huge in her mind, and I remember every variation on the boy band, including 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, O-town, and every other boilerplate fucking mass produced mass market pop act from the late 90s and early 00s.  I didn't listen to pop radio, but my sister did, and that was how I kept up with the craziness therein.

It was a time of great eye-rolling when I had my licence and my sister didn't, and we were in the car together. At every commercial break on the other's station, we would punch the preset button for our station, and listen to it till they did the same.  We remarkably agree on a lot of music now, but before, she thought that I listened to rock too much and that it was crap, and I thought she listened to pop too much, and that it was bullshit.  But now, I think we see eye to eye on a lot more stuff, and I hope she reads this.  It's been interesting to hear her perspective on music, coming from what was the same basic background as me, but developing taste differently.

Anyway, this was the first album that actually let me listen to pop music, and allowed me to realize that just because it was usually bullshit music, it can be fun.  These songs are, for the most part, fun and poppy and romantic.  I mean, the whole first half of the album are great dance songs, that anyone can feel the beat to, and you can get down with all of them.  Sexyback, while nowhere near as revolutionary as the radio claimed when it came out, is a really really really solid dance song, that is well outside the R&B core of Mr. Timberlake's earlier work.  His first album Justified, was a good album, punctuated by great songs.  This album is the other way, a great album with one song that just fails to be as good as the rest.

Yes, Justin Timberlake wrote a song about a methhead.  It's interesting that he felt enough to write the song, and it's commendable that he felt enough to write the song, however, I think that it is the albums low point, by about a mile.  It's just difficult to hear this sweet little R&B voice singing about how hard addiction was, and how he had lost his way.  I understand that it was something that was important to him, but I just think it feels so out of place on this album that it's difficult for me not to just skip the song.

But after that down note, let's just talk about the greatness that is the rest of the album.  And it is the rest of the album.  Justin, for the most part, at least tries to play around with the pop song formula.  Instead of being exactly the same song, over and over, with the same breaks and choruses, he tries to vary it up, using distinctly hip-hop beats produced by Timbaland.

Now, this is a producers album more than anything else.  It's not remarkable for the writing, and the performing is rote, but the way that the sounds develop and change, it becomes more and more about the beat and the music that is backing up the frontman.  Justin Timberlake is a multitalented performer, and he can do quite a lot with his voice.  He works really hard on making every song his own, and he seems very comfortable in the role that he is playing in this album.  However, every track is heavily influenced by the production, and Timbaland and Danja deserve a great deal of credit for making this album not sound like some basic pop album.

But fuck it right?  Let's just give credit where credit is due.  This is a dance album.  It has some amazingly complex beats, and if you can think of a better mid song transition than in LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows, I'd love to hear about it.  I'm going to be a fan of Justin Timberlake because of the team that has put this album together, and his ability to actually entertain.  I'm sure that he would never live up to the fun guy that I have in my head, because who could, but I really want him to keep making records like this, where the experiment is the fun.

Anyway, thanks again to me, for suggesting that I write a love letter to Justin Timberlake. Hope that you all enjoy calling me gay in the comments, and I will take it with the proper shame that I should, you hipster douchebag, metalhead, or whatever else I can say.
Just wait till I do David Bowie,

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