Justin Timberlake’s 5th studio album, Man of the Woods, is a fantastic mess. It’s a weird hybrid of pop, hip hop, and corny chart-country that could only be made by a superstar who doubles as an egomaniac; in other words it’s art that is uninhibited by budget or awareness of audience.
Man of the Woods is a welcomed left turn that actually makes sense for an artist who has nothing left to prove. At 16 songs it’s a bit overcooked, and while some of the messages feel mixed (what woods is he talking about, he’s from Memphis?), ultimately it’s a sprawling opus of millennial pop made for the aging parents who still embrace Timberlake’s choices.
The album feels less about mans relationship to nature as it does about man coming to grips with pop music in 2018. Prince is dead, rap is dying one face tattoo at a time, and we’re on the sideline as Justin Timberlake makes sense of it by sorting out the noise between his ears whilst donning a flannel, a beanie, and a pair of custom Jordan 3’s.
Haters will bash the silly concept of Man of the Woods while die hards will stand by Timberlake as he continues to boast that the record is “Modern Americana with 808’s”. Don’t take any of it seriously. It’s a pop record for right now; a mixed bag of gems and forgettable chances that is fun enough to keep you busy while changing diapers or popping bottles.