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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Music Review – Album fumbles genre-bending

Justin+Timberlake%2C+Man+of+the+Woods
Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Pop royalty returns with an all right album highlighting his relationship with his wife, son and his Southern pride.

Man of the Woods, Justin Timberlake’s fifth solo album, is a frustrating concoction of an album. While on the whole, it’s an intimate look into Timberlake’s life, it leaves a lot to be desired in several sections.

The album starts strong with “Filthy.” Sounding like a cross between Prince and Daft Punk, this signifies the real strength of the entire album. It’s when Timberlake plays with these fascinating sounds and mixes them with funky bass riffs that the album moves like butter.

Another strong entry to the album is the second track “Midnight Summer Jam.” It’s a fun track that mixes pride in Southern backwoods upbringing and having parties on dirt roads. It’s definitely going on several spring break and summer party playlists.

Where this album seems not to resonate is Timberlake’s attempts to fuse country guitar riffs and hip-hop 808s. It’s not that they can’t work together. It’s that they don’t feel natural. They end up very Frankenstein-like, an abrasive collection of genre-specific elements forced into one song that haven’t had the time to truly blend.

The title track is probably the best example of how the execution is lacking in areas on this album. Here, the country guitar riffs are just fighting with that bassy 808 drum and not in a good way.

Although later on the album, “Say Something” sprouts up and definitely is a refreshing blend of country guitar riffs and earthy 808 drums combining to make for ear candy. The harmonies are another beautiful aspect to this track.

Although Timberlake can be forgiven for the effort to try something different and outside the norm, it’s really Timberlake’s lyrics that fall short in major areas. If they aren’t just downright repetitive to an almost unbearable point, they lack the punch needed to land.

“Waves” is probably the worst offender, chocked full of cliche lyrics and cringe-worthy lines. This is not his finest moment.

Despite the glaring weaknesses, it’s touching how much Timberlake involves his wife, Jessica Biel, in the theme of his album.

She often adds to background vocals, but he gives her a spotlight in “Her: Interlude.” On this minute-long track, she expresses her love for her husband.

Some songs of interest include “Higher Higher,” which gives another smooth beat with a fresh delivery of lyrics that may not stand out on their own; “Supplies,” which has a fascinating blend of elements for its instrumental and a Walking Dead pick-up line that Timberlake slips in; “Flannel,” which offers a soft and gentle touch to dependability in someone; and “Young Man,” Timberlake’s self-proclaimed love letter to his newborn son.

The album isn’t flawless, and it isn’t swimming in iconic songs like in FutureSex/LoveSounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. This album feels more authentically him than some of his previous endeavors.

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