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Justin Timberlake’s New Album Man of the Woods Drops on Feb. 2nd!

On March 15th, 2013 Justin Timberlake returned from a six-year hiatus. At that point in time, I thought he might never return to making full-length albums. As one of my favorite artists, JT fueled many sing-alongs, and even a few homemade remixes with a middle school buddy of mine. Both Justified and FutureSex / LoveSounds are monumental albums for me personally. The latter is easily a top-tier pop record of the 00’s. Over the years, Timberlake has shifted his sound from album to album. His debut was an energetic vocal pop offering with Latin flair. With the help of legendary producers The Neptunes and Timbaland, it’s hard to fail. However, Justin came with the vocals necessary to justify his boy band hype (no pun intended). He became a certified hitmaker. Nearly five years later, JT dominated the charts with tracks like “My Love” and “SexyBack”.

His third album saw the seasoned pop star in a new, more mature light. He switched his style from ambitious electronic pop to adult contemporary grooves. This proved to be a smoother transition than most envisioned. With a tight ten tracks, The 20/20 Experience garnered enormous attention and universal acclaim. So far, he is three-for-three in my book, although there is room for disagreement. Fast-forward to today and JT is back almost five years since his last album. To announce his Super Bowl-preceding project, he released a teaser video on social media. The visual (above) sees Timberlake in-tune with nature, saying this will be his most personal album yet. Titled Man of the Woods, it seems as though Justin will be going in a more acoustic or country direction. This is not a bad thing necessarily. I really think it can work for him.

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I gotta be honest, though. I’m not anticipating this album to be good. As much as I love JT, this feels like an ultra safe move from an artist built on making calculated pop risks. Despite Timbaland and Pharrell rumored as primary producers once again, I wasn’t a fan of what I heard on this teaser video. It is, of course, much too early to gauge the album as a whole. Nevertheless, Man of the Woods sounds like it’s trying too hard to be deep or homey. The target audience here is clear, which tells me album sales for this project will be massive. I hope I’m wrong; I really do. Because 2018 won’t be as dope as it could possibly be with a sub-par effort from one of my all-time favorite artists.

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