Album Reviews

Justin Timberlake – FutureSex / LoveSounds

(Sony BMG) UK release date: 11 September 2006

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex / LoveSounds There’s nothing worse than a no brainer situation. Even the least educated of us would find it insulting to be presented with a question so stupidly simple it would warrant physical retaliation just for asking. But I’ll ask it anyway. What would you get if you put Justin Timberlake in a room with Timbaland and Rick Rubin?

Like I said, no brainer stuff. Off the wall is where we find the creative juices of the soon to be crowned King of Pop and two of the world’s best producers. Between these three they couldn’t create the crappest record in the world ever if they tried, even if they roped in Embrace to guest on half of it.

Pop has been crying out for the compound nouns / sounds of FutureSex / LoveSounds. At the prime age of 25 with a cool 25 million in the bank, Timberlake knows he is in pole position to pluck the crown currently hanging lopsided on that senile old Wacko sitting effectively deposed on his throne in Bahrain. Timberlake just needs to check the engine, top up the water, make sure the oil level is just right and adjust his mirrors.

There have been those who have tried before, but they’ve been so far back on the grid it was embarrassing – flash gits like Usher, curious entities like Robbie Williams and chancers like Ricky Martin. I don’t even know why I’m mentioning these three in a Timberlake review, they’re such plebs.

You’ll know what I mean when you put this on. The slow breaks of the title track wrap this record round you like walking into an exclusive club with a million dollar sound system – you know you are going to have one of those nights.

Never mind the explicit lyrics warning. This should come shrink wrapped in a condom screaming the warning: You Are Purchasing a Sexually Promiscuous Trousersnake and hereby agree to any feelings of movement, energy and ecstasy you may incur.

We’ve already heard SexyBack’s distorted vocals and humpy razor sounds. Just wait til you hear My Love’s looped time-freezing synth under a smooth R&B groove which melds for a jaw dropping erotic number.

Lovestoned could have been on Bad except for it to morph, like much of the album, into the next song, in this case the trippy ballad/interlude I Think She Knows.

Ask Timberlake why the album flows from one seven minute song into the next over 71 minutes, and Dark Side of the Moon is referenced, closely followed by the word “concept”. A concept record made by the man behind the McJoke that was: “I’m Loving It.” Surely not?

Surely this is the work of some invisible grand master. Someone operating even lower beneath the radar than US Black Ops. Someone who has stage managed their prodigy from his Mickey Mouse Club days to this defining moment: “Boy, you’re going to make an album that will stand apart from what is made in pop for this decade and we’re going to make it a concept album with the best producers money can buy. One that slithers you from floor-filling, ’80s-influenced breaks, edgy hip-hop, cruise control crunk to weepy river crying ballads. You’re gonna get strings, Snoop Dog, shine like chrome and smell like a million dollars.”

Nah. Timberlake takes a significant co-credit of creative dues along with his illustrious producers. Need I go on? No in fact, I refuse to give a running commentary as to why you should buy this album. If you haven’t caught the drift by now, you should see a neurologist.

There’s going to be a coronation very soon, and anyone who cares to invest will be handsomely rewarded by the future king.

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