Listeners can expect unfamiliar sounds if searching for the classic jazzy pop associated with Justin Timberlake on his most recent album. Most songs from Man of the Woods are repetitive and mildly annoying, lacking a smooth melody or upbeat sound. The stylings on Man of the Woods simply don’t measure up to his previous releases.
The opening track, also released as a single for the album, “Filthy” has traditional Timberlake vibes with a touch of his well-known sexiness. “Filthy” is a jam for any party playlist with a thumping bass and a surprising mix of vocal pitches from the artist.
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The song offers a distinctly different mood than his care-free “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the movie Trolls, but nonetheless doesn’t let down — unlike the rest of the album.
Immediately after “Filthy” the song “Midnight Summer Jam” is a much better representation of the rest of the album. This tune is a confusing mix of beats with repetitive lyrics which seem to go on forever. Listeners may easily lose interest in the music, only to be roped back in by a random inconsistency, like the harmonica solo in “Midnight Summer Jam.”
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Songs like “Flannel” contain an irritating melody which feels like some push for a new style his mostly pop-enthused fans won’t enjoy. The beginning of the tune is possible to bop to, but another pivot part-way through the song leaves a listener shaking their head. While the irritating melody fades away, a strange, lusty voice cuts in and takes more than a minute to uncomfortably wrap up the song.
Although most tracks blend together in mediocrity, some songs were able to achieve the usual danceable background of his tunes. The single from the album, “Filthy,” resonated very well with pop listeners, quickly climbing to the top of the charts for its bumping bass.
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“Morning Light” is another successful track found on this release with help from artist Alicia Keys. Even with vocal improvement though, repetitiveness remains an issue with almost no variation in the overall sound the entire song.
The second track with a featured artist is also an improvement within the album. “Say Something” features country singer Chris Stapleton who actually has the majority of the vocals over Timberlake himself. This caused a change of pace for the better, re-grasping my attention to the tunes.
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After “Say Something” though, the album traces back to the strange electronically acoustic style. Even one of the songs with a better beat for jamming, “Supplies” still manages to grow irritating with its high pitched and whiney chorus. The album simply doesn’t have a strong enough track to redeem it.
The singer has reached and fallen short of his standing as a major icon of popular culture. Man of the Woods doesn’t contain the natural, pop flow as in the rest of his music.
Timberlake’s experimentation with a new sound has not been successful — the album is unremarkable and disappointing. It’s difficult to accept the let down from this project, as a follower of Timberlake since *NSYNC, but after listening I can truly say I am left disenchanted and annoyed.