As one of the last survivors of 90's boy bands, a lot of people expect a lot of things from Justin Timberlake. Add to that the fact that his prior albums have been some of pop's finest efforts, it's reasonable to assume that it's safe to rely on him for some good tunes. Unfortunately, he's not lived up to that. Justin Timberlake sounds disconnected from himself in Man Of The Woods, failing to really drive his music forward and ends up falling into a slump.
It's kind of shocking how boring and dull Man Of The Woods is. Opening the album is lead single 'Filthy,' which, with its Steve Jobs-inspired music video, was really a hit or miss kind of song. It tries something very different, but with genuinely awful lyrics and an overall disconnected structure, it's an experiment that may have been perhaps better left unheard. Nothing is as left-field as 'Filthy' is, though that doesn't help considering that adds to the overall disjointedness of the album. There are moments that show promise, though. The wonderful melodies and dark tones of 'Say Something' make it the best track on the album, and Chris Stapleton's timbre helps sell it even more. I'm not a fan of country whatsoever, and the fact that this song is definitively the best one on the album is pretty shocking. 'Supplies' is interesting, but again the disjointedness of its structure brings it down. J.T. brings the rock and funk on 'Sauce' though the introduction and sentiment that sets it up is pretty trivial.
Overall, there's just little to no meat in Man Of The Woods. It's incredibly repetitive and just thin, which is unheard of for Timberlake. It makes you wonder if he was just getting lucky all these years, since Man Of The Woods is such a divergence from we all know he's capable of. Title track 'Man Of The Woods' is just pure strange and doesn't seem to take itself seriously, and considering the sort of concept he was going for, it really just doesn't add up. Songs like 'Midnight Summer Jam' and 'Montana' feel so average and contrived, like he was jumping on a trend to make a relatable and "fun" song. Even the more personal tracks like 'Flannel' and closing track 'Young Man' just feel like they lack a sense of personality to them, as if they exist just to be a track that covers a certain subject and nothing more. Man Of The Woods is empty and misses the heart of his music.
Justin Timberlake isn't known for making subpar records, but this one's certainly a stain on the track record. Justin Timberlake sounds disconnected from himself in Man Of The Woods, failing to really make the same quality music he's been able to for so long. There's no meat to the thinly veiled skins of these songs, and it certainly doesn't feel like it hits upon the message he was going for. It's a swing and a miss - a first for Timberlake.
Favorite Track: Say Something
Least Favorite Tracks: Hers, Man Of The Woods
Rating: 66 / 100
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