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Justin Timberlake - Man Of The Woods (Album Review)

Thursday, 08 February 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Justin Timberlake’s fifth solo album combines country music with funky pop and, despite some real high points, the result is a good case study in the why people don’t generally try that particular genre fusion.

The unbridled high point is a duet with country superstar Chris Stapleton called Say Something. It’s a throwback acoustic ballad, rich in organic vocal blend and emotional complexity. It is completely irresistible radio fodder, and should find its way onto any future Timberlake ‘Best of’ compilation.

But other contenders are hard to find on ‘Man of the Woods’. Tracks like Midnight Summer Jam attempt to rejuvenate the sexy snakehips we know from the noughties, but with limited success.

Technically it channels prime JT with its funky guitar, swaggering beats and layered falsetto, but the inclusion of an electro tom sound overloads and confuses the track, and the lyrics are a little lightweight.

The lead single, Filthy, is quite exciting but not very catchy. The opening battle cry - “Haters gon' say it's fake” - appears to comment directly on the central creative risk of ‘Man of the Woods’: the use of a genre (country) previously not visited by Timberlake. Such defiance is not terribly convincing because he’s still trying to have it both ways.

But the worst moments are Sauce, which cack-handedly combines a Prince aesthetic with a Tennessee drinking song, and the title track. Believe it or not, that sounds like a country version of Afroman’s Because I Got High.

All of which makes for a patchy album. Timberlake is a world class talent; a child actor who became a teen star, who turned matinee idol. But at 37, his mid-career is starting to sound a bit confused and rudderless. With A-listers like him, one should be able to bank on quality, if not edge. ‘Man of the Woods’ doesn’t really deliver either.

Justin Timberlake Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 27 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Sun July 01 2018 - MANCHESTER Arena
Thu July 05 2018 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Mon July 09 2018 - LONDON O2 Arena

Click here to compare & buy Justin Timberlake Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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