November 24, 2007

Future $ex/Love Sounds : Justin Timberlake.

’m not even sure how it happened. I just remember putting LoveSounds in my stereo. I was comparing the album title to others that fuse words together—like TLC’s Crazy$exyCool and Prince’s Love$exy—when it hit me: I’m about to listen to Justin Timberlake.

Then I noticed something else: I was eager to listen to it.

Whoa. What’s goin’ on? I thought.

I telephoned my cousin—another music lover—to share my discovery. She was like, “What? The dude who plays on One Tree Hill? I didn’t know you liked the Backstreet Boys.”

“First of all,” I said, noting the irritation in my voice, “the guy on One Tree Hill is Chad Michael Murray! Second, Justin wasn’t a Backstreet Boy.” I noted her muttering, “Whatever,” as I plowed on, “He was a member of *NSYNC. He left the group and debuted with the album Justified, which featured the single ‘Cry Me A River’. That song could’ve been about Britney Spears. Timbaland added his production skills to the album and it went multi-platinum. Anyway, what’s up with all these questions? Damn! Can’t a brotha just listen to a CD in peace? Can I do that? Please? Please?!”

“Dude, calm down.” She was quiet before she added, “Wasn’t he in the Mickey Mouse Club?” She was giggling.

I hung up.

There has been much hype surrounding the release of Justin Timberlake's much anticipated new album, Future $ex/Love Sounds. People in the music business have been talking about how this new album will "save" the music industry. The music industry is in a state of disarray. Big wigs hope and pray Future $ex/Love Sounds will sell enough to make up for profits lost to downloading and online content. Personally, I think the music industry needs to adapt to these changes and take full advantage of an online lifestyle.

One spin of Future$ex/LoveSounds and it's hard to believe that Justin Timberlake was ever a boy-band barnstormer--no modern-day male artist beats him when it comes to single-minded self assurance or suavity. "$exyBack," the inescapable summer sizzler of a first single off this short and thrillingly unwholesome disc, makes that clear on its own: If there was ever any question about whether $exy was in need of reviving--a doubtful proposition at best, given the sheer volume of JT's gyrating counterparts--he lays it to rest instantly over a small but insistent Timbaland-concocted beat. On that track, Timberlake's appeal is his sweet but newly thuggish-sounding voice--here's a good kid gone bad, and he's determined to convince us of it not only by tossing a few well-timed lyrics as "I'll let you whip me if I misbehave." The rest of Future$ex will feel familiar to anyone who picked up 2002's brilliantly funk-flecked Justified: "Love Stoned/I Think She Knows Me," shifts from Michael Jackson-esque paranoid trilling to pulsating guitar rock; "Chop Me Up," a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia and Timbaland, gives up the grit rap-style but still manages to recall both Prince and Stevie Wonder; "My Love," with T.I., mines classic Timberlake territory with meltaway lyrics like "I can see us holding hands walking on the beach/Our clothes in the sand"; and the straight-up but groovy lament "Losing My Way" asks, searchingly, what may be the silliest question a squeal-inducing pop star has ever posed: "Can anybody out there feel me?" Rest assured, JT: we feel every past-, present-, and future-$exy verse. --Tammy La Gorce

'Future$ex/Lovesounds' is the second album release from Justin Timberlake and comes four years after his multi-million selling debut 'Justified'. Produced by the likes of Timbaland, Rick Rubin and Will.I.Am, the album sees Timberlake move away from the slick R&B sound of his debut, opting for a more funk-rock sound citing David Bowie and Prince as key influences.

As for Futureex/LoveSounds, you can tell Timberlake’s working hard to get it right. In the process, he’s been ruling the charts and, ultimately, raising the stakes for his competitors.

Lists of the songs (Click on the links for their Lyrics)

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