Review: Man of The Woods, Justin Timberlake

Man Of The Woods is much-loved popstar Justin Timberlake’s first album in five years since the incredible 20/20 Experience. In that time the “Mirrors” singer has had a child with wife Jessica Biel, composed the soundtrack for Dreamworks Trolls, and most recently performed at the Superbowl’s halftime show. In short, JT has done even more growing up in the last few years and this is made evident by the sound of his latest album.

However, if you’re looking for 2018’s answer to “Sexyback” or “Cry Me A River”, or in fact any number one at all – you’re not going to find it on this album.

This album doesn’t have the perfect blend of R’n’B and pop that Justin’s previous albums have been critically acclaimed for. Instead it has a much more acoustic, chilled-out and earthy vibe off it – just like the title suggests.

This makes the album’s lead single, “Filthy”, look completely out of place in comparison to the rest of the tracklist. With R’n’B’ flavours and lyrics of a sexual nature one would wonder why it was put on an otherwise mature sounding album. However, it has been gaining plenty of attention on the airwaves recently, so maybe that is why.

“Filthy” aside, the first few songs on the album create a first impression for listeners of Justin’s new grown-up sound. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very promising first impression which is made. Songs such as “Higher Higher”, “Waves” and “Supplies” aren’t exactly terrible, but they are certainly quite forgettable.

The second batch of songs on the album are much better, albeit not Justin’s best work. “Morning Light” with Alicia Keyes is an enjoyable duet, Young Man is both a touching and catchy tribute to Justin’s son with wife Jessica, and “Say Something” featuring Nashville star Chris Stapleton is arguably the best song on the whole album.

Realistically, JT isn’t going to gain a whole new legion of fans from Man Of The Woods. The album sadly gives no reason for his current fans to get incredibly excited either. Justin is no longer the young heartthrob he was once renowned for. He is a father and married man and this is reflected in his music and lyrics. If loyal fans are willing to accept his new sound and stick by him, then Man Of The Woods and potential future music shouldn’t create any issues for him.

Simply put, Justin’s fifth album is a let down. However, it is still evident the singer is incredibly talented and hardworking. Man Of The Woods isn’t great, but it isn’t exactly a death sentence either. He’s still going to sell millions, he’s still going to perform sellout tours, he’s still going to be extremely popular – because let’s face it, at the end of the day, he’s Justin Timberlake.

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