It’s been a rocky road since Justin Timberlake announced his fifth studio album Man of the Woods earlier this month. The pop superstar released an album trailer to coincide with the title and release date, with the visuals showing Timberlake running through the wilderness while talking about a personal album inspired by his family and his roots. What Timberlake presented was a country folk album that would be a departure from his earlier work. What we got with the first two singles was more of the same.
Leading the charge with “Filthy,” a song barely discernible from Timberlake’s 2006 hit “SexyBack,” JT followed up with “Supplies,” a song that was catchy for all the wrong reasons and accompanied by a ‘woke’ video that was asleep at the wheel.
Frankly, we were starting to lose hope for a pop star that has consistently delivered hit albums both as a boy bander and a solo artist, but it appears the third time’s a charm.
Just released today, Timberlake finally went a little bit country, teaming up with singer Chris Stapleton for the new single “Say Something.” Blending Timberlakes’ pop and R&B sensibilities with his Tennessee upbringing, the new track features some of the musical risks we loved on The 20/20 Experience accompanied by a folk flair. With the intimacy of a song that could be played in a coffee shop and a chorus begging for a stadium tour, “Say Something” is the first goosebump-inducing moment we’ve had since Timberlake first announced his Man of the Woods album.
That’s not to say the new song isn’t without faults. Timberlake’s lyrics about knowing when to speak up and when to say silent arrive at a precarious time, with the actor being called out for his support of the Time’s Up movement without speaking out against his recent appearance in Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel film. According to “Say Something,” he can’t help himself, but helping the Time’s Up movement by donating his Wonder Wheel paycheque would definitely be better than saying nothing.
Justin Timberlake’s Man of The Woods drops February 2, two days before he returns to the Super Bowl as this year’s halftime performer. His Man of the Woods Tour is set to kick off on March 13 in Toronto.