This review has me in absolute fucking tears.
Despite the strong, rugged air of the title, much of Justin Timberlake’s fifth album – which drops this Friday – makes it clear he’s probably one of the worst people to possibly be stuck in the woods with. Imagine spending days in a cabin with a 36-year old dad, singing in an increasingly ironic falsetto, making everything pointlessly sexual, metaphorically humping your leg with incessant innuendos, whilst still thinking he’s a really cool, right-on kinda guy.
Single ‘Filthy’ kicks off the album, blessed with the gag-inducing line ‘What you gonna do with all that meat?’ – a question only Gregg Wallace has the acceptable right to ask in public. Up next comes, ahem, ‘Sauce’. ‘I love your pink, you love my purple’ states Justin, in what we hope is just a ghastly innuendo. If not, mate: see a doctor.
When he sings ‘It’s as solid as oak’ on ‘Breeze’, is he talking about his relationship or his penis? Such vagueness doesn’t help dispel the general whiff of ‘Blurred Lines’ about Timberlake in 2018 – and that’s before you get to the chauvinist patter of the title track, or his annoying tick of referring to women as ‘girl’, ‘baby’ or ‘sugarplum’.
The cherry on the cringe cake has to be album-closer ‘Young Man’, a song that was probably meant as a tender father-to-son ballad (for his two-year-old, with wife Jessica Biel). It instead raises more moral complications than a synod meeting of the Catholic church. Chirpily telling a child ‘If you need a cry, you got my permission’ is all kinds of wrong, as is telling a future man ‘Someday you’re gonna break somebody’s heart, that’s what we do’. For good measure, he also asks the child to contemplate how hot his mum is, and then gives advice on how to get with hotties of equal hotness.