23 Mar 2013


Ah, Justin Timberlake. So he's back with a new album. I've been meaning to write my thoughts on it all for a good week now. FYI, I first listened to it through the iTunes preview streaming service, start to end, seven days before the official release. And then another dozen times after. And then I downloaded it and listened to it some more at home, on the commute, before sleep...

I was the model consumer for JT, in that I heard and watched everything he wanted us to in the order that he wanted us to. "Suit & Tie", the Grammys and "Pusher Love Girl", "Mirrors", the Brits, Jonathan Ross, SNL, Jimmy Fallon... I think there's something to say about the way in which he and the label built up to the release and how tracks were unveiled. Mixing full song releases with teaser live performances, luring us with a little more each time and then letting us hear the album in full for free, I've been left wanting more every time, in awe of what I've just experienced.

Having heard the album in full each time (just the way I like to enjoy an album, how it was intended), it's fair to say that there's a lot of ideas thrown into it, far more experimental than before. My friend smartly said that it wasn't an 'easy' album to get. But the progression that Justin has shown since his last venture seven years ago is superb; he's aged like wine, or Leonardo DiCaprio. What he succeeded with before is still there in abundance, despite the views of some pessimists, but this time it comes with a greater sense of maturity and complexity in his sound that is fresh to hear. And what ties all the styles together for me is in the live performances. I've watched pretty much everything he's done this year so I like to think I have a good idea, but the vibe within the brass band and mini orchestra if you will, plus the chorus, dancers and Justin is so on point, the way they really feel the music and enjoy themselves doing it (just like Bon Iver, say) is something that comes across strongly and that's where the songs make true sense. They fit excellently together, no time-fillers, no repeats. Just a varietal album, ambitious yes, but absolutely just and brilliantly executed not a bit short of what we'd expect from him.

So I think it's a good album, a great album. He is the king of cool. And what, there's another album on the way? Well isn't that just fucking exciting.

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