It breaks my heart to even write something like this, as Justin Timberlake is someone who I grew up on and have enjoyed for the past 20 years. However, reality has to set in at some point for him where he realizes that the jig is up and that no one is really buying what he's putting out as of late.
Timberlake's latest album Man of the Woods is his first in five years and received higher than normal publicity due to his halftime performance at Super Bowl 52 last weekend. The album debuted at number one with 293,000 copies sold. His last album, The 20/20 Experience, did the same but sold 968,000 copies in its first week. That's a 700,000 copy difference, and Justin… there's a reason why.
I've listened to Man of the Woods, and it's good. It's not solid, but it's good. It confuses me how he wanted to go back to his Nashville roots with this album, yet the first song he releases, "Filthy" should have been titled "Failure" as it went nowhere and didn't really back up what he was trying to sell in the first place.
Sure, the song with Chris Stapleton "Say Something" is decent, and he has a duet with Alicia Keys on there, but Justin… there is something that is clearly missing and why social media has endlessly mocked you ever since word got out that you were releasing Man of the Woods last month.
Justin you had a golden opportunity to right a major wrong that you did at Super Bowl 52. This of course is about… Janet Jackson. It's incredibly problematic that you went on to have a stellar career after the whole "wardrobe malfunction" incident and her's went up in flames. You never publicly apologized for it, and kept quiet as you went to win tons of awards, praise and recognition and she was called every name in the book (both racist and sexist ones) because she is black and a female.
Your 15 minute set included you running all over the place, barely singing, no special guests even though most of the songs that you did had featured artists that helped make YOUR song a hit (primarily urban artists, mind you) and yet nothing from Janet. Regardless if what happened 14 years ago was pre-meditated or not, you had the option to bring her out and smooth something over that you helped cause.
Not only that, but the Prince tribute was ridiculous given how it's been reported for years that he never liked you and didn't want something like this to happen ever. Instead, you perform one of his song's, something he would have never approved of, and then kept running around the football field and taking a selfie with a kid who probably has no idea who you are.
It's also been reported that you are shocked at the public's response over your SB52 halftime performance, but you should really look back to understand why. The reason why you became a solo success is because you had the backing of several urban artists to help produce, write and co-star on your tracks, most notably Timbaland, The Clipse, Beyonce, T.I., Jay-Z, and so on and so forth. Instead, you perform all of those tracks and bring none of them out, and once again make the focus entirely on you. Heck, even Beyonce brought out Destiny's Child, you could've at least brought your *NSYNC boys out, but nope.
Your performance, which is still being mocked to this day, had the opportunity to thank all of those who have helped you along the way, including Janet which in some weird and twisted way made your star power blossom, but you didn't do that. Instead, the focus was completely on you, and that's why millions of people clapped back because at the end of the day, it's good to acknowledge the people around you that helped you secure your 3rd halftime performance and get you where you are to this day.
But you didn't. So if MOTW is your last album, then I'll be fine with that.
This article was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect all of Instinct Magazine's views overall.