Artist: Justin TimberlakeTitle: FutureSex/LoveSoundsRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli
The best way to sum up Justin Timberlake is in two simple words: damn lucky. For the most part, the life cycle of an ex-boybander is relatively short and unprogressive (i.e. Ricky Martin). The listening population struggles with the guilt of actually liking the work that eventually there is none left. Such is not the case with Timberlake’s
second LP FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive). The album is a praiseworthy production that has placed J.T. in a caliber of the more respectable Pop artists.
The time has finally arrived where no one really remembers that Justin Timberlake was a part of N*Sync. Upon leaving the group to record on
his own, Timberlake released 2002’s Justified. The album was good all things considered from the best voice of the former Floridian quintet. It was, however, safe in its Poppy-ness, laden with dancey pickup
lines and post-Britney trauma. His movement as an artist appeared
stagnant and questionable as to whether or not he’d succeed in this
industry simply by being himself.
This time around, Justin Timberlake offers a considerably risky record
that succeeds in its experimentation. The first single “SexyBack” was
the best re-introduction for Timberlake, despite the universe’s desire
to abuse the opening line “I’m bringin’ sexyback.” The title track oozes with the sexiness of George Michael’s Faith
era to the tune of super producer Timbaland’s chest-thumping digital backbeats. “My
Love” shines on the album beyond the soprano vocals and
modern-meets-new wave synthesizers. It’s understood that this is the
new production direction for Timbaland, and while his beats are always
captivating and innovative, most could’ve easily been interchangeable
with Nelly Furtado’s Loose.
The middle marks the changing pace of the record as it loses momentum
once “Chop Me Up” plays. The Southern flair plus Three Six Mafia was
an attempt for street cred, but abrupt nonetheless. Timbaland goes
soft in “Losing My Way” and “Until the End of Time,” as he drops the
synthy-funk and reverts to watered-down ballads. Rick Rubin joins him
in “(Another Song) All Over Again,” which is especially shocking given
Rubin’s unyielding production style. It’s unfortunate that the latter
part of the album turns safe with songs more suitable for Usher.
Timberlake manages to shine, but would’ve faired better had the whole
album remained consistent. Still, FutureSex/LoveSounds is a giant
step forward for Timberlake, and a guarantee that he’s here for the