FUTURE SEX\LOVE SOUNDS
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Come Along with JT through his own groovin' universe of FutureSex/LoveSounds, co-written by Justin Timberlake and produced by Justin Timberlake, JAWBreakers, Timbaland, will.i.am, and Rick Rubin, among others. Guest artists include TI, Three Six Mafia, and Hezekiah Walker. Obviously, there is no shortage of talent.
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One spin of FutureSex/LoveSounds and it's hard to believe that Justin Timberlake was ever a boy-band barnstormer--no modern-day male artist beats him when it comes to single-minded self assurance or suavity. "SexyBack," the inescapable summer sizzler of a first single off this short and thrillingly unwholesome disc, makes that clear on its own: If there was ever any question about whether sexy was in need of reviving--a doubtful proposition at best, given the sheer volume of JT's gyrating counterparts--he lays it to rest instantly over a small but insistent Timbaland-concocted beat. On that track, Timberlake's appeal is his sweet but newly thuggish-sounding voice--here's a good kid gone bad, and he's determined to convince us of it not only by tossing a few well-timed mother****ers our way but also with such lyrics as "I'll let you whip me if I misbehave." The rest of FutureSex will feel familiar to anyone who picked up 2002's brilliantly funk-flecked Justified: "Love Stoned/I Think She Knows Me," shifts from Michael Jackson-esque paranoid trilling to pulsating guitar rock; "Chop Me Up," a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia and Timbaland, gives up the grit rap-style but still manages to recall both Prince and Stevie Wonder; "My Love," with T.I., mines classic Timberlake territory with meltaway lyrics like "I can see us holding hands walking on the beach/Our clothes in the sand"; and the straight-up but groovy lament "Losing My Way" asks, searchingly, what may be the silliest question a squeal-inducing pop star has ever posed: "Can anybody out there feel me?" Rest assured, JT: we feel every past-, present-, and future-sexy verse. --Tammy La Gorce.