Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods”

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Printed with permission from J. Kopec Justin Timberlake traces through his past on “Man of the Woods” by revisiting the many sounds of his career.

On Friday, Feb. 2, Justin Timberlake released his fifth-studio album titled “Man of the Woods,” two days before his Super Bowl LII halftime performance. This album includes 14 solo tracks along with two collaborative songs with Alicia Keys and Chris Stapleton. In the album’s promo video, Timberlake walks through the woods knee-deep in snow drifts, bathes in the river, burns bonfires and watches herds of horses. Prior to the release of “Man of the Woods,” Timberlake’s last studio work was in 2013, when he released “The 20/20 Experience” and “The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2.” During his 20-year career, Timberlake has dabbled in various genres and become an icon for all of pop culture. “Man of the Woods” is a collection of everything Timberlake has done musically over the years, which is why the album’s music varies between the styles of Country, R&B and hip-hop.

“Man of The Woods” is the lightest-sounding album released by Timberlake. The basis of most of the songs are mainly acoustic guitar riffs with a touch of R&B sounds. The title track “Man of the Woods” is a dedication to his wife, Jessica Biel, which is reminiscent of the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. In the single Filthy,” Timberlake uses techno and heavy robotic space funk sounds. The song “Wave” arranges sounds that demonstrate the Caribbean reggae style. “Sauce” is a funky rock in the spirit of late Prince. With its harmonies, the song “Higher-Higher” reminds us of Stevie Wonder, and the name clearly refers to one of his famous songs, “Higher Ground.” Along with “Breeze off the Pond,” “Higher-Higher” represents pop-soul style. In this album, Timberlake shows his talent as a songwriter and manages to provide a different style of music for his fans that include catchy beats.

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