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Album Review: Justin Timberlake – Everything I Thought It Was

3 min read
Album Review: Justin Timberlake - Everything I Thought It Was

Justin Timberlake has proven himself to be a very talented man. His work in *NSYNC as well as his blossoming solo career at just 21-years-old created some of the biggest hits of the early 2000s, and he revealed himself to be a decent actor also, starring in big 2010s blockbusters. Since 2013 he has released music sporadically, many of his singles proving to be massive chart successes, and now he has returned with a new album, one that proves to be primed with even more hit material.

Memphis is a powerful opener with a low-key beat that weaves a tale of rising to fame and everything that comes with it, good and bad; about being pushed through a career that isn’t necessarily making you happy. The track features Justin dipping into rap, and well as into trap with the instrumental. F**kin’ Up The Disco brings back the groove and ups the tempo. The chorus has an airiness associated with JT, bouncing along whilst catching at the listeners ears. No Angels follows, leaning into 80s soul and funk with Nile Rodger’s esc guitars and a smooth shuffle. Technicolor provides an interesting change of pace, the seven-minute R&B ballad taking its time to envelope the listener in the its melody before switching it up at the three-minute mark to bring the beat in and speed things up. Its reminiscent of tracks like Pusher Love Girl from Justin’s 2013 album The 20/20 Experience but more mature in its delivery.

Liar featuring Fireboy DML has a reggaeton feel, with Fireboy’s verse flowing like many of the genres best know tracks. It’s a deep cut highlight that leads into Infinity Sex, a track that comes closest to being a throwback to JT’s earlier albums. Fun and groovy, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and makes the most of its catchy beat. Songs like Love & War, My Favourite Drug and Flame lean into the pop aesthetic, the latter feeling the lushest and most fully accomplished. Alone surprises with a gorgeous solo string into before piano takes over with Justin’s vocals. It’s the most natural-sounding song on the record, and that sentiment carries over into the emotion of the lyrics. The late highlight leads perfectly into the final two tracks, Paradise featuring Justin’s old bandmates *NSYNC, and Conditions. The former builds like a classic early-2000s stadium pop tune, complete with harmonies and the members taking it in turns to sing a verse. Conditions ends the record in a similarly low-key way to the opener, the difference being the instrumentation. Guitars, airy harmonies, and light synths make it a potent conclusion.

Everything I Thought It Was feels in many respects like a reflective album about Justin’s ups and downs, both in the celebrity machine and in his personal life. Being over an hour in length, he has time to pour over his inner thoughts while throwing in his typical brand of sexy R&B and pop. Despite the changes in style and lyricism being jarring at times, the album has something for everyone to enjoy, and is pristinely produced. It is Justin back on form.