I Love Pop/Wait What?

Sometimes I think I should move my update day to Thursday. But because I’m me I know that won’t work because then I’ll just start updating on Friday. So alas, Wednesday it stays. And by Wednesday hopefully you all realize I actually mean Thursday.

Album: FutureSex/LoveSounds                                                   Artist: The one and only JT

JT

I choose F/L for several reasons this week. 1) I’m seeing Justin Timberlake in December and I have to gear up, 2) I watched Friends With Benefits last weekend and so I was feeling some JT this week, and 3) I actually really love this album and I’m saving 20/20 part two for December.

So I’ve mentioned before how much I love JT and how willing I am to jump on the bandwagon. So let’s elaborate on that, because most of you know how I generally feel about pop music:

FutureSex/LoveSounds dropped in 2006, four years after JT’s solo debut Justified. Timbaland once again produced the album (with the exception of “(Another Song) All Over Again” which was produced by one of my favorite producers Rick Rubin) and this album seriously revolutionized pop in the mid 2000s. In fact, the album was created with that idea in mind. You see, JT decided to record another album once he realized the “sad state” of pop music. That information was taken from Wikipedia so I can’t certify it’s accuracy, but Wikipedia hasn’t failed me yet so I’m rolling with it. Anyway, this “let’s fix the genre” attitude is part of why I love JT. Justin Timberlake always releases something with the idea of art in mind — not just going with what sells. It’s about the music, not about the money. And if I’m wrong, please let me just believe I’m right because I want to love JT.

F/L was really unique in the mid 2000s. It not only features several other artists, such as will.i.am, T.I., and The Benjamin Wright Orchestra, but it also pulled influence from my favorite genre: rock. Yeah, you heard me. David Bowie, The Killers, Radiohead. And not to mention the other obvious influences like Prince, Stevie Wonder, and The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.

But what about the influence the album itself had? Well for one, F/L really impacted not only Timberlake’s career but also Timbaland’s. Think back for a second: remember how many artists Timbaland produced back in the mid 2000s? This album is why. I mean just think about how many artists were influenced by Timberlake and Timbaland’s sound — there’s Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous,” Timbaland’s own “The Way I Are,” (admittedly my jam), and of course “Apologize,” OneRepublic’s hit single that Timbaland remixed and was played on the radio for literally forever and a year. I mean, these songs kinda defined the era. At least, that’s how I remember it. I was in like the fifth grade so maybe my memory is skewed. Except, wait. It’s not because I’m right.

Really, from the insanely catchy “SexyBack” which I’m pretty sure is the reason people even say “I’m bringing sexy back” (because, yes, JT is) to the strangely insightful (and depressing) “Losing My Way,” FutureSex/LoveSounds delivers. Much like The 20/20 Experience (which I’ve already written about here) these songs aren’t just your average pop songs. They really show the kind of experimentation and innovation Timberlake isn’t afraid of. Many of the songs on the album do the whole 6-minute sort of two songs in one thing that JT and Timbaland do quite a bit, but it’s not bad. It adds flow. Every song has a place on the album and there’s a continuity that makes the album just seem natural. And once again, the JT you’re hearing played on the radio isn’t the JT you hear on the album.

Of course, the same complaint I had with 20/20 stands: I don’t need to listen to a minute and a half of “my love” repeated over again, but once the transition happens it makes you forget about the transgression. The album is just fun. You can really hear exactly what JT pours into it just like you can his other music. And the best part about it? A lot of it was demoed from improv. So if that’s not talent, I can’t tell you what is.

So give this one a listen, even if you generally don’t like pop music. Or maybe you generally do like pop music, in which case you need a musication (music education) and this is where to start. And until next week (or whenever I update these days), keep listening.

Singles (because by god there were a lot): SexyBack, My Love, What Goes Around Comes Around, Summer Love, and LoveStoned/I Think She Knows

Other Honorable Mentions: FutureSex/LoveSound, Damn Girl, Losing My Way

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