The modern king of pop is back with a new style, but there seems to be a bit of a disconnect. Justin Timberlake channels Steve Jobs int he futuristic video for 'Filthy,' the lead single from his upcoming album Man Of The Woods, and, while fun, both the song and the video don't seem to know what they want to be.
The music video for 'Filthy' has an interesting concept behind it. Based at a tech press conference in Malaysia in 2028, Timberlake walks out in front of the crowd - completing his Steve Jobs character with glasses and a dark sweater - and introduces a dancing robot, who becomes the star of the video. As the song progresses, the robot's actions become more fluent (and his moves smoother), with a set of backup girls to compliment him. The crowd gets more and more into the performance as it goes, and it feels pretty uplifting to see technology inspire and connect with the crowd. As far as the meaning goes, though, the only parallels that can be drawn are with the song's instrumental.
The song seems like it's trying to be too many things at once. It has similar problems with working with EDM elements like Fall Out Boy did with 'Young and Menace;' separately, everything sounds pretty nice. The sweet bassline, the electronic wobbles, and vocals, yet together, paired with the incredibly slang-ridden lyrics and just generally disjointed structure, it feels a bit off. It's not as big of a trainwreck as the Fall Out Boy song, though after a lot of the elements of the song are dropped following the Queen-esque reprise of the bridge, it finally starts sounding awesome. The big drums and chaotic electronica fits well with the otherwise unassuming lyrics, giving it an almost dystopian vibe, in a weird, industrial way. For most of the song, however, it just feels a bit... wrong.
Justin Timberlake channels Steve Jobs in the futuristic video for 'Filthy,' yet there is a disconnect between both the song and the video as well as in the instrumental. It's collectively solid, and each individual part is pretty interesting, but it just doesn't come together in a strong way until the end. It's going to be a slow grower, but perhaps the context of Man Of The Woods will shine it in a new light.
Video Rating: 70 / 100
Song Rating: 70 / 100
Stream or buy 'Filthy' on Apple Music: