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Man of the Woods misses the mark

Hope Nathanson, Writer

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The sounds of the Blue Ridge mountains combined with synthetic, electronic pop to create the absolute musical flop. Man of the Woods, Justin Timberlake’s fifth studio album, failed to live up to his previous album’s successes  

 

Timberlake’s most recent album, ‘Man of the Woods’, made its international debut on Feb. 2,  just two days before Super Bowl LII. He released three singles leading up to the album launch.  Two singles, ‘Filthy’ and ‘Say Something’, reached the Billboard Top 10. The album itself reached number one on the charts despite consistently receiving mixed reviews from critics.

 

Generic southern terms for song titles does not make music folk. ‘Breeze of the Pond’, ‘Livin’ Off the Land’, ‘Flannel’, ‘Midnight Summer Jam’, and the title track, ‘Man of the Woods’, all seem as though they would invoke southern vibes based on title alone.

 

Timberlake was born in Memphis, TN, which although it is southern, is in no way a small town or rural.  His lavish Hollywood lifestyle shows through in his attempt at being a down-home southern man in ‘Man of The Woods’. His experience truly being a “man of the woods” is lacking and is very apparent in his new music. Timberlake’s music career has been a focus of the public eye since he was a member of the boy-band NSYNC in the mid nineties.   

 

Timberlake disappoints a potential new audience with a lack of southern-folk influence, and Long time fans do not like his shift in music style away from the R&B pop of his older albums.  Folk music with mandolin and fiddle overlayed with a basic trap beat created an unsettling and overall, unentertaining listening experience.

 

‘Man of The Woods’ is named for Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s son, Silas, whose name means “man of the forest.” However, some songs on this album are anything but child friendly. Songs like ‘Filthy’ and ‘Sauce’ have little restraint for sexual innuendos.  Timberlake makes not-so subtle references to intercourse and sexual organs in the song ‘Sauce’, saying “Ooh, I love your pink, you like my purple.”

 

Although Man of the Woods incorporates many musical genres into one hour long album, the album as a whole could be summed up as boring.  With repetitive phrasing within each song accompanied by the most basic of trap beats, Timberlake fails to create harmonious music fusion across genres.  The falsetto that Timberlake is known for is a constant aspect of the album, but after a few tracks, it just becomes overwhelming and lost. It all blends together to create one mediocre endeavor that Timberlake calls music.   

 

AlThough ‘Man of the Woods’ received mixed reviews from critics, Timberlake should still be lauded for his attempt to combine unlike genres to create a blended album that could appeal to diverse audiences. However, overall, Timberlake’s attempt at creating a folk-rap-R&B-erotic pop-southern album failed to meet the high expectations of listeners and critics worldwide.

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