Justin Timberlake’s 2nd major studio album, ‘FutureSex/Lovesounds‘ doesn’t necessarily follow the same boyish charm as his breakout album, ‘Justified’ or even to the extent that the short-lived NSYNC did. However, his follow-up album, primarily produced by Timbaland, Rick Rubin and Danja, was a success.
While following the formula of the creation of his previous album and using the Timbo-produced “Cry Me a River” as an influence for the sound of the album, it was apparent that JT’s creative juices came back to him after a studio session that resulted with, possibly, one of the best solo Justin Timberlake songs to date.
Anyway, finally moving officially onto the review. While the production and writing credits are more or less the same, the overall sound of the album is a drastic change. Instead of singing over regular Pop-like instrumentals and getting loads of different producers and other writers, features included on the album, this album purely shows off Justin’s vocals and lyrical development. From the self-titled intro track, that has a creepy drum pattern, Rick James-esque bassline, Sci-Fi movie synths and sexy vocals from Justin; it’s a perfect start to the album as well as the sound he’ll be exploring.
One of the standouts on the album would have to be the second single, “My Love” featuring Atlanta legend, T.I. Not only is the instrumental pure gold for JT’s and Timbo’s beatboxing at 0:48-0:50 seconds and throughout the rest of the song, but the drum pattern that turns up at 0:08-0:10 that also makes an appearance add to the emotion of the song as well as adding more of a Hip-Hop/Boom-Bap sound.
Another song that is a great solo-cut from the album as well as in Justin’s discography is the follow-up track, “Lovestoned / I Think She Knows (Interlude)”. A seven-and-a-half minute orchestra of quick paced beatboxing, Dancehall drum patter and melancholic strings at the end that never stop me crying. ALSO, there’s an incredible selection of piano keys on the second half of the song ( 5:38, 6:16, 6:22,6:53) which adds to the heartbreak of Justin’s situation, which only develops more as a concept in “What Goes Around…/…Comes Around (Interlude)“.
The most ratchet and turnt song on the album has to be the Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia collaboration on “Chop Me Up”. The beat for Justin and Timbo is Poppy and melodic, yet still follows the creepy-like textures explored earlier on in the album on other instrumentals. However, the switch-up of the beat for DJ Paul and Juicy J to flow over suits them perfectly. It has a Chopped & Screwed vibe but in all; works.
Other songs that stand out is the amazingly smooth and crisp “Medley : Summer Love / Set the Mood (Interlude)” and melancholic “Losing My Way”.
The album is darker, moodier and grittier than his first major solo album, however, it develops and explores a sound Justin didn’t have the chance to play with in his run-up days to worldwide solo fame. It is a clear indication of an artists growth, maturity and how Contemporary-Pop/R&B artists can still find a sound without following a pack.