Review: Futuresex/Lovesounds

September 12, 2006

justin-tim.jpgOn the cover of his new CD, Justin Timberlake crushes a a disco ball with his Prada (Gucci? D&G?) -clad feet – is this symbolic of his attempt to break down musical barriers (the Madonnaesque disco-revival that has , for example, become quite vogue)? Or is Timberlake celebrating, as it were, a sort-of victory over dance music? Because he has. FutureSex/LoveSounds was a long time in the making, and it shows – the songs are polished to the point of slick perfection, and reflect a degree of thoughtfulness that was only nascent in his debut solo effort, Justified. This is good pop music at its very best – a sort of flippant self-aware sexiness, through attempting to disparage itself, becomes even more sexy. Timberlake is really bringing the sexy back (although one is of course wont to ask, where did the sexy go in the first place?) – no more trace of that teenybopper N*SYNCer, (almost) all evidence of the Britneylationship shaken off (although he can hardly resist leaving in one song about his ex), the JT jives, croons and warbles his way into what he has admitted is a new stage in his creative development.

Not to be missed is of course the first single SexyBack, an incredibly catchy and interesting piece in which Timberlake has the audacity to (and the talent to make good his) claim that ‘[he’s] bringing sexy back’. A great song to dance to, this song has deservedly made its way onto the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The next single, My Love, was performed along with SexyBack at the Video Music Awards, and the looks of it are that the sophomore single will do well too – it’s an extremely rhythm driven mid-tempo track that incorporates a sample of Timberlake’s quite impressive beatboxing talents.

My favorite track on the album was undoubtedly the one about drug abuse: Timberlake sings from the perspective of middle-American Rob, who ‘work[s] at his job earning 40 dollars a day’, and who ‘can’t put down the pipe’. This is memorable because it is one of the only tracks on the album that doesn’t deal with FutureSex or LoveSounds – it turns out to be particularly moving, especially due to Timberlake’s tender and sympathetic portrayal of the persona. The inclusion of the children’s choir at the end is quite brilliant.

FutureSex/LoveSounds continues in the present trend of heavyhanded overproduction that combines 80s-ish sync with R&B beats and an extremely hip-hop sensibility. Timbaland has a hand in all the album’s tracks, which is extremely evident, and works because Timberlake’s voice can frequently sound reedy and thin, especially when he sings in upper register (the vocals on My Love can sound particulary airy and fragile in parts). Exceptionally notable and notably exceptional is the closing track to the album, (Another Song) All Over Again, where Timbaland’s influence relaxes and shows us another side of JT – soulful, quiet, heartbreaking.

Timberlake’s sophomore solo effort may be overly obsessed with sex and being sexy and love (read: sex), but it does seem well-considered, confident and, most importantly, extremely sexy. A fantastic pop album – probably the best one to have come out this year, and probably the best one to come out this year.



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  2. Nice review

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