Taking a closer look into the ‘Man in the Woods’

Justin Timberlake is most known for his older albums that were released in the early 2000s.

Rhaya Truman

Justin Timberlake is most known for his older albums that were released in the early 2000s.

Old heartthrob and solo artist Justin Timberlake is attempting to bring his music back and that shows through his newly released album “Man of the Woods” that was released on Feb. 2nd.  

I didn’t hear any hype about his new album coming out, so I had no clue what to expect. After listening to it a few times and trying to decide whether I like it or not, I have come to the conclusion that unlike the lyrics of “SexyBack,” he does not have to bring this album back. 

The album starts out with a strange track titled “Filthy” that makes you feel like you are at a techno concert under water. I want to believe he was going for a modern electronic beat, but to me it just sounds like a wanna be unique track. I was surprised to find that “Filthy” has 43 million listens on Spotify when I can not even sit through 30 seconds of it. 

With Timberlake a lot of albums have a missing piece that he tries to fill with random songs between the hits although, it just interferes with the flow of the album over all.

If you mix country, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, you get the track “Sauce.” At first I thought the beat could work out but the longer I listened to it, the more I realized it sounded like a bunch of chords that do not match all mixed into a so-called song. The lyrics lack complexity. 

The first three songs of the album are like salmon. It seems like it will be great, but once you take it bite of it, you immediately want it to go back into the ocean.

The singer tried hard to release a modern album that alluded to more of a mature but also jazz and pop sound. But if you listen to it a few times, you can tell that it went a little down hill.

I always thought Timberlake could do no wrong – I guess I wasn’t ready for this time to come. 

You could tell right off of the bat that he does not know the sound he is going for and that is adamant through his music. I expected more of the successful R&B side of Timberlake, but I was disappointed to say the least.

But at the end of the day, there are some songs that follow his traditional old school sound that gives the album a little more value. Songs like “Higher Higher” and “Montana” are some outstanding examples of the old Timberlake coming back.

Timberlake has a nice voice but when he goes into the lower pitch mixed with the higher tones, it makes for the perfect base of a hit that will put him on the charts. I wish he would have stuck to this sound since he is good at it, and it guarantees him a spot on the top. 

Some of his old hits like “SexyBack” and “Suit & Tie” are a perfect example of his range potential. Therefore, it is not surprising that this album did not have any stand out songs. 

The title track “Man of the Woods” throws you off the first time you listen to it. Usually Timberlake has a distinct sound that when you hear it, it makes you want to dance and groove, but this song does the exact opposite. 

There are many, many points I could discuss with title track “Man of the Woods.” First of all, the beat is indescribable. The song itself does not fit into a genre. The message behind the song is heart warming but the way it is delivered does not match the mood of the album – – if you can even find what the mood is.

I fully appreciate when artists decide they want to try something new. I think it is beyond important for them to be able to explore with their art because at the end of the day, it is their creation.

But when being an artist who likes to try new things and sounds, it is important to understand that there might be some people who do not care for the new vibes you are trying to put out there. That may not mean the album is bad, but it could mean that the audience you once had before are no longer feeling the new music.

It is obvious that Timberlake is trying to create this shift in sound and possibly become more mature in his music. He wants to go from “SexyBack” to something a little bit more older, which is understandable. But I would argue that the sound he had before was more distinctly him. At this point it feels like he is searching for his spot in the industry although to the consumers, it is the question of when it was taken away from him in the first place.

To me it seems like he went from young, charming and talented Justin Timberlake to old dad country loving Justin Timberlake, and I prefer the first option much more.

I hope in the future, Timberlake is able to grasp exactly what vibe and sound he wants his fans to hear because in my opinion “Man of the Woods” is simply not an album that was well prepared or well deserving of praise or love.