Is another Justin Timberlake reinvention in order? 

click to enlarge Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods
  • Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods
In theory, Justin Timberlake’s search for his inner Jim James should come as no surprise, given recent country albums from Kesha and Miley Cyrus. But Man of the Woods is hardly deep Americana, more of an added twang to Timberlake’s standard dance-pop. Guests Chris Stapleton and Alicia Keys help keep this album from being the atrocity some detractors claim, but it’s telling that the best tracks are ones like “Filthy” that hew close to the Timberlake canon. Other songs like “Livin’ Off the Land” and “Flannel” veer close to cringe-worthy. While the boy-band master may resemble Sam Smith in the liner-note photo, he can still rely on a talent that’s greater than that of certain newcomer superstars. Even if Timberlake doesn’t revisit the sound of 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds any time soon, his next outing will hopefully hone this new laid-back style into something more interesting. Or is another total reinvention in order?
File next to: Timbaland, Bruno Mars


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