Justin Timberlake’s fifth studio album, “Man of the Woods” released Feb. 2, is his most exploratory album to date.
On “Man of the Woods,” Timberlake stays loyal to production duo, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, also known as The Neptunes. Timberlake also worked with long-time friend, Timbaland on this new album. They produced hits like “Senorita” from his debut album, “Justified” (2002), and “My Love” from his sophomore album, “Future Sex/LoveSounds” (2006). Together, they help him experiment with blues, folk and country on this record.
“Filthy” starts off the album with a bang. The harsh, robotic-sounding track is atypical of a pop song, but it was chosen as the opener for his performance for the Super Bowl half-time show this year. Zane Lowe from Beats 1 described the song as a “palette cleanser” to take fans deeper into the rest of the album.
“Midnight Summer Jam” is a fun bop that invites you to dance to its heavy percussion and funky underlayer. The song takes you back to Timberlake’s “Justified” glory days, with The Neptunes familiar production style ever-present.
“Sauce,” the first song he wrote for the album, plays with the techno side of Timberlake, which emerged back on “Future Sex/LoveSounds.” The vocals in this song are reminiscent of “Sexy Back,” his biggest hit from the 2006 album. Timberlake considers the genre, “modern Americana.”
“Supplies” has the hardest bass on the album. While difficult to sing to, Timberlake doesn’t miss a beat with his percussion driven vocals. “TKO” from “The 20/20 Experience” has a similar flow to it, making it a predictable move for Timberlake.
“Montana” is where Timberlake truly shows off his vocal range. The harmonies and falsettos in the song are its main attraction, and the infectious rhythm has you moving the whole four minutes and 40 seconds of the song.
“Breeze Off the Pond” is a relaxing summer tune. The carefree flow makes you feel like you’re cruising through the Hamptons in a convertible with the top down.
“Living off the Land” has a country sound, although it’s not a country album as Esquire reports. Timberlake’s creamy vocals blend well with the twangy guitar.
“Say Something” could become the album’s biggest hit with its fast tempo and smooth guitar chords. Timberlake and Chris Stapleton harmonize in a way that demands the listeners’ attention.
“Hers” is an interlude, which includes Timberlake’s wife, Jessica Biel. She speaks over a soft piano, segueing into another song, “Flannel.”
Timberlake told Lowe that this album was inspired by his son, Silas. He had a conversation with Pharrell Williams in which he discovered that his son’s name means “of the woods” in Latin. Timberlake liked the name so much that he used it for the album.
“Man of the Woods” is a change of pace for Timberlake. Experimental and genre-defiant, the album represents a new stage in life for the biggest male pop star of this generation.