Tune in: Man of the Woods
February 15, 2018
After a five year hiatus, Justin Timberlake has released an unusually diverse album, “Man of the Woods.” The album covers a variety of styles, from punk and electronic to country and shows glimpses of Timberlake’s Southern upbringing, but not without bringing a confusing and messy style to the table.
The drastic change of style between each song left me puzzled and with mixed emotions about the album as a cohesive product.
The album starts off on an uptown funky beat with “Filthy.” The mixing of electronic sounds with funk creates a clash of musical elements that gives the song a groovy, unique feeling. Timberlake’s vintage style then reappears in the second song of the album, “Midnight Summer Jam,” with insanely high falsettos, a guitar and beats made by the Neptunes—Timberlake’s producers that helped make his debut solo album, “Justified.”
“Wave” and “Supplies” are the results of Timberlake’s efforts to modernize his music to fit today’s culture, but the way he approaches this prevented me from actually enjoying the songs. “Wave” is the product of a reggae song being changed to appeal to the general audience. The song takes place on the beach and the ocean, with the word “wave” being used way too much. The lyrics in “Supplies” touch on romance and survival, however it was written in a way where there was nothing connecting the two subjects. It also doesn’t help that the hook is one word, the title of the song.
One of the highlights of Timberlake’s album is “Morning Light,” featuring Alicia Keys. Both their voices perfectly compliment each other, and the bass beating in the background gives the song a steady rhythm. The song used less layering of sounds, making it clear and soulful and allowing it to conjure a spirit of romance.
As the album reaches the end, more of Timberlake’s “Southern-American” songs appear. “Montana” and “Breeze Off the Pond,” were noticeably similar in sound and style. The rhythm and phrasing were almost identical in both songs. Both reminiscent of Daft Punk’s style of disco-pop, with layering of different pitches for harmony.
Timberlake adds too many new elements into these songs in an attempt to put his own twist into them. This makes the songs less true to the “country” theme that he claims is supposed to be the focal point in the album.
The last song on Timberlake’s album is “Young Man,” a song dedicated to his 2-year-old son Silas. Most of the song involves Timberlake offering future life lessons and having imaginary conversations with his son. Cliche lines like “you know your daddy’s so proud of you” and “mama just can’t get enough of you,” are spread throughout the song making it feel more warm and innocent.
The final song is really ironic, since “Man of the Woods” started off with “Filthy,” the song containing lyrics “put your filthy hands all over me.” Beginning with a flirty song unsuitable for kids like Silas and ending with a personal and sentimental song doesn’t make sense at all.
“Man of the Woods,” gives insight on how Timberlake’s style and music has changed since his last album. This album is not his greatest work, and listening to the songs in order didn’t make much sense because of how quickly the songs change in style and mood. `Although there are some enjoyable songs in “Man of the Woods,” most of the album is unappealing and uninteresting to listen to.