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COLUMN: New album proves even Justin Timberlake makes mistakes


Justin Timberlake released his new album, "Man of the Woods," on Feb. 2. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

You can go ahead and schedule an eye appointment because Justin Timberlake’s new album, “Man of the Woods,” no longer has the 20/20 vision of his previous, amazing album “The 20/20 Experience.”

It feels like he went to the optometrist and the eye doctor said, “Yeah, for sure, go ahead and get some glasses. You don’t have 20/20 anymore.”

I’m going to be honest – I put off writing this review for three days. I listened to the first two songs off the album and thought, “Oh god, please, no." Then I immediately closed the Spotify app, set my phone down, left my dorm room in London, got on a plane and just left the country.

I’m kidding. Obviously, I didn’t leave the country. However, I did stop listening because I knew I would have to have a roast session about it, and I was not in a roasting mood.

But all good things must come to an end.

I had to sit down and listen to the album all the way through. I think I cringed through all 66 minutes of it.

I usually listen to albums twice, but this one was hard. I skimmed through a second time, because otherwise the review would be based on first listen, which isn’t always fair, though I’m sure this will be the same regardless.

I was confused when the first single, “Filthy,” came out.

I guess it was a big moment in my life, because I actually remember where I was. It was midnight, and I was in my best friend’s apartment in Chicago.

I distinctly remember her saying, “Oh wow, this is terrible.” And she’s not wrong. 

I’m someone who was a huge fan of Timberlake’s 2013 album, “The 20/20 Experience.” I listen to it all the time. I downloaded it from Spotify and actually listened to it on the flight to London because it’s full of absolute bangers.

For lack of a better statement for how sad I am about this, the new album is full of songs that make me want to bang my head into a wall.

I know this is partially my fault, because I had the highest of expectations and was let down.

I actually had to pause during the fourth song on the album, “Man of the Woods,” and cringe at the wall. I can’t make this up. It was painful to listen to this song, and I was a little sad he decided to name the album after this song. 

There are some strong songs on the album. There’s something to be said about the fact that the good songs are really good, like “Wave” and “Say Something,” with American singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton.

However, in the same breath, the bad songs – which, unfortunately, are plentiful – are really terrible, like “Filthy” and “Man of the Woods.” 

I’m entirely confused by the album.

There’s a country feel, a pop feel and an electronic feel all at the same time. It feels very wrong.

With all of that said, I wouldn’t give the album an absolute zero out of 10, but I would give it a 5.5.

I’m sad about Justin Timberlake’s new album, but I will never stop loving his previous work.

I will not be making a playlist of songs from “Man of the Woods” this week, because it would be extremely difficult. But I invite you to listen to “The 20/20 Experience” and remember that people make mistakes.

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