Justin TImberlake - Man of the Woods
Man of the Woods
For years it seemed like JT was the coolest guy in the room. He rarely made a misstep since leaving N*SYNC working with the right people, going to right parties and solidifying his status as pop royalty. He's friends with the goddamn Carters so He's got to be doing something right, right? The ides of this album "Classic Americana with 808s" is novel on it's surface, a fusion of southern styles that we haven't heard before but in reality it's jumbled, confused and ankle deep. "Midnight Summer Jam" is the track that really tries to exemplify this with Justin's almost trap delivery over an odd southern sound heavy beat complete with a harmonica solo. Justin has always tried to be on the vanguard of pop music and He's often succeeded but this record feels misguided and self-indulgent from the state. The usual production suspects are here: Timberland, The Neptunes and Danja but their ideas are either dated or unintelligible. "Sauce" which features an intro from god knows who sounds like a half baked version of the Gucci Mane video originally outlying the definition of "sauce", and the song itself with it's ridiculous guitar riff is silly at best. When Justin talks about how he likes your "pink" and wants to get at it with his "purple" it sounds absolutely fucking ridiculous. Now all this would be forgiven if the songs actually clapped, but they simply don't. From a production standpoint everything sounds rich and varied with influences from damn near everywhere, but when they come together there is zero cohesion, zero giving the album a unified feel. Timberlake wanting to fuse his musical history into one record is a noble endeavor but at some point it has to sound good to be viable.
Another issue on Man of the Woods is the length. Justin has never been one to keep things tight but every track on this record could use a nip and a tuck. 66 Minutes is so much overkill for a pop record and you can feel it for the first moment. He employs some soul, some funk and some disco at times, but putting it all in a blender and seeing what turns out is no way to make an album. It's almost like He wanted to cast the widest net possible, make sure the country fans were satisfied as well as the the hip hop fans and the results are just a mess. "Wave" this fucking country romp is horrific and unintelligible to boot. It even has an old timey whistle at the end just in case you were unaware of the vibe they were trying to curate with the track. "Supplies" the first single from the record has Timberland's production style written all over it, but none of it connects or makes any kind of sense at all. Nothing on this record feels grounded or connected to reality at all, it's just some rich pop star's idea of what music should be. Maybe it's our fault though for letting some many of his errors go by without inflicting any damage on the artist. Justin thinks he can do no wrong, but as this album shows He sure as shit can. HARD PASS.
2.0 out of 10