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Justin Timberlake – Justified (2002)

January 8, 2014

[Album 275/1001]220px-Justified_-_Justin_Timberlake

In 10 years, Harry Styles (of One Direction) will be the coolest person on the planet.

I’ll explain.

In the late 80s/early 90s, there was a ridiculously successful boy band by the name of New Kids on the Block (NKOTB).  One of its original members? “Marky” Mark Wahlberg.  By the late 90s, he was a respected actor and as Will Farrell humorously observed at a later awards show, kinda badass.

In the late 90s/early 00s, there was a ridiculously successful boy band by the name of ‘N Sync.  One of its original members?  The current coolest man on the planet that dances/sings/acts/kills it on SNL, the man known by the affectionate short form of JT.

So if the pattern continues, one of the members of the most ridiculously successful boy band of the late 00s/early 10s should blossom into the next Justin Timberlake.  I’m rolling the dice and putting my money on Harry Styles, we’ll see in a decade!

At the beginning of the millennium, few would have predicted JT’s remarkable career transformation.

I can pinpoint the moment I became a fan: Sars-Stock 2003 in Toronto.  The Rolling Stones headlined, Rush & AC/DC played solid sets, and incongruously, Justin Timberlake was also on the bill.  Some less than enlightened fans pelted the stage with water bottles during his set.

Why I quickly became a fan?  His post-show reaction to the boorish audience:

“If I came to see AC/DC, I probably wouldn’t want to see me, either.”

I believe he also started singing the Sesame Street tune, One of These Things is Not Like the Other, in the same post-show interview.  Brilliant.

Is Justified equally brilliant?

The ballads are pretty forgettable.  On many of the slower tracks, there’s nothing wrong with his performance per se; it just seems interchangeable with any of the r&b/pop stars of the day.

On the hits however, he shines.

– Señorita‘s memorable call & answer outro
Cry Me A River is the standout of the slower tunes
Rock Your Body continued his unique pronunciation, “gonna have you neck-ed by the end of this song.”  Fair warning, I will most likely be sharing the “It’s gonna be May” meme again this year on April 30th.

Based on the strength of this debut, the superstar music career shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Kudos to Justin for also conquering the rest of show business along the way.


From → 2000s

  1. This album is soooo good. I wish Timberlake’s new album was as good. I just don’t love it. When this album came out I loved all the hits. The music videos were good. He should’ve stuck with Timberland as a producer.

    • I haven’t heard his new one yet – the review I read suggested it was missing something though. Since JT’s been unstoppable and succeeded in just about everything for the last decade, the reviewer said he just didn’t sound ‘hungry’ on the latest record.

  2. I have this album! I LOVE Rock Your Body – so funky. It was sort of my guilty pleasure album…I guess today it’s considered a classic? lol

    • No need to feel guilty about liking Justin Timberlake these days! I wouldn’t necessarily label the whole thing classic, but some of those tunes (especially rock your body/like i love you/senorita) definitely hold up nicely.

  3. His only misstep: Being in that movie The Love Guru with Mike Myers. Eww.

    • I have yet to see the love guru (and based on the review of ‘eww’ I’m in no rush!) – I heard his performance as the french goalie was one of the very few redeeming features.

      • My wife bought it because in the movie, the Leafs win the Cup. So I guess that’s a redeeming feature?

      • I remember he snuck a newsflash ‘Leafs Win Cup’ into the 3rd Austin Powers as well – another movie not quite in the same league as Austin Powers II or Wayne’s World 1!

  4. This guy’s clearly talented, but I think he owes a lot to Michael Jackson. His singing and dancing, his style, the music itself… it’s like a 2000 version of the early Michael Jackson (Off the wall, Thriller), which I guess is pretty cool. Although I don’t listen to this stuff much ( “#&*$ in a box” remains my favorite of Justin’s performances ;).

    • The album art has JT in a fedora as well, the MJ influence is all over the record.

      That digital short is one for the ages, a holiday classic!

  5. My vote for best song on this album goes to “Like I love you” – percussive, off beat guitar riff, great drum beat, and catchy as hell. Conversely, I really disliked the suit and tie song of his more recent efforts – pure rubbish.

    • I hadn’t realized it was also on Pharrell WIlliams’s production CV – he’s had a pretty strong 21st century so far!

      Admittedly,I haven’t actually heard any of JT’s newer stuff. One review I read of his latest said it sounded like he wasn’t ‘hungry’ anymore. I could see that, there couldn’t really be much left to accomplish.

      Justified however, he was determined to prove himself as a solo artist and I’d say that’s a fait accompli!

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