Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods – Album Review

The waiting has finally come to an end because on the 2nd February Justin Timberlake released his 5th studio album with the title “Man of the Woods”. I must admit that I didn’t use to be a fan of his music, especially when his double disc album “The 20/20 Experience” came out in 2013. I only listened to his singles and wasn’t interested in other songs of the two albums. Maybe I must catch up on it and give his old music also a chance. For now, let’s focus on his new music. After hearing his lead single “Filthy” I was actually scared and didn’t know what to expect from his new album. Fortunately, the other singles were more pleasant to me. Justin told that this album is the most personal one that he ever released. Since 2013 a lot have happened and changed in his life, he’s got married and became a father. Therefore, he claimed that “Man of the Woods” is about his wife, his son and his roots. As a pop music listener, I really enjoy personal albums by the artists, so let me introduce to you these 16 new tracks.

Filthy

The lead single “Filthy” was released on the 5th January. Probably you were also shocked when you heard it for the first time. I don’t even want to start to talk about the music video. I admit that I didn’t like it by the first listening. I still don’t love it but actually, it’s a song with interesting lyrics. First, I thought that he is singing anything random, which came to his mind while he wrote this song. After going through the lyrics, I realized that he tried to write a song about sex with some metaphors and include hidden messages. It has a futuristic electronic beat. I just hope that this style won’t be the future of pop music. What do you think about this song? Maybe, he tried to rewrite a song like his former hit “Sexy Back” but it’s definitely not alike. Also worth mentioning is that his wife speaks during the outro, you also hear forest sounds. I guess it refers to the concept of the album, even though the song for itself doesn’t.

Midnight Summer Jam

We’re in February but Justin already gave us a summer jam for the summer. This song is really cool, it has a funky beat and there is even a harmonica towards the end. My interpretation of the lyrics is that Justin takes someone, probably his wife to his hometown Memphis and they have a summer night party until the morning with all the citizens. And they dance all night long and enjoy being outside in nature. This song will be on my summer playlist 2018 for sure.

Sauce

I assume that Sauce is the new Swag and the next level of Juice. Justin Timberlake was inspired by a viral video, in which a young man explains the difference between juice and sauce, also why it’s better to have sauce than juice. Timberlake uses this explanation for the intro. I wonder how much he paid this dude to use his voice. Further, it’s just another song about sex. He sings about why he worships his partner and their sex. He claims that she has all of the Sauce. This track has also a funky beat mixed with rock and pop. Not bad!

Man of the Woods

The track with the album title is dedicated to his wife. Justin Timberlake is literally singing about his sex life. He uses again metaphors to describe sexual stuff. He states that his wife and he do it twice when they have sex. “They don’t understand you’re just like me, they don’t know, we do it twice ’cause we know we like it”. In the chorus, he claims that she is his proud since he is a man of the woods. After reading these sexual lyrics I wish this couple that their sexual activities will be long-term. I don’t know how his wife, Jessica Biel, must be feeling after his husband tells the entire world about their sexual habits. I enjoy the melody he sings in the chorus.

Higher Higher

This one is my favorite song so far. Justin sings again about his wife but this time not about their sex life but about their marriage in general. He tells how they first met each other and that he is a jealous husband. Also that he always wants the best option for her. Justin also thematizes in the post-chorus how stressful their lifestyle can get but they’re still getting higher and higher on every level of their marriage. I really like the instrumental arrangement of this song, it’s diverse and vivid. A musical masterpiece.

Wave

“Wave” could be another summer hit single. Justin Timberlake sings about enjoying beach holidays with his wife. Just them two doing spa and enjoying every moment together, no phones, no stress, but a lot of waves. “Would you believe we’re alone? So far from home, but you love it though. Set yourself free, in the zone. Ain’t got no phone, don’t need it though”. I must admit that I like the story of the lyrics, but the musical arrangement couldn’t enthuse me. Justin is also repeating himself too much.

Supplies

The 2nd single “Supplies” was released on 18th January. This song is very cool. They used different samples for the beat and the way Justin sings or almost raps is awesome. I love the bridge because they apply an entirely different arrangement for it. In this song Justin lets his wife know that they would survive even in the world of “The Walking Dead” as long as she stays by him. Because he’s got supplies, everything they need. In the verses, he sings about some events, where they met each other and what he did for her.

Morning Light ft. Alicia Keys

Finally, the first collaboration appears on the album. And it is Alicia Keys, I like her music too. “Morning Light” is a slow romantic song, in which to lovers confess how much they are in love with each other. “Yes, I’m in love with you. Laying here in the morning light. And all I want to do, Is hold you tight, just one more, one more night”. Their vocals are not fascinating but they make you feel the love. I would say that every real couple can relate to this song.

Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton

One collaboration follows the other. For this track, Justin collaborated with the successful country singer Chris Stapleton. They released “Say Something” as the 3rd single of the album on the 25th January before the album release. The lyrics are inspiring and philosophical, and the guitar fits perfectly to this song. More precisely, it’s about having a desire to say something but you’re in a dilemma and not sure if you should say it out loud or not. My favorite song of the album.

Hers (interlude)

This track is just a message from his wife, written like a poem. It only lasts for a minute. I don’t understand why this is presented as an independent track on the album. In my opinion, the album actually counts only 15 songs and not 16. I can’t say that I don’t like it because the message is very romantic and sweet. But Justin could have used it as an intro to a new song about his wife.

Flannel

Now I realize, “Hers (interlude)” is probably an intro to this song. Because in the track before his wife explains how it feels for her to wear his shirt. And this song is about his flannel shirt. It’s written like Justin’s answer to her message. The chorus goes like this: “Right behind my left pocket that is where you’ll feel my soul. It’s been with me many winters, it will keep you warm”. The flannel shirt of the man of the woods. But this track is written like a lullaby, it could make you fall asleep. There is again a one-minute spoken outro by his wife, which is unnecessary in my opinion.

Montana

This track was also written for his wife. “Montana” is inspired by their proposal, by the time when Justin asked her to marry him during their trip to Montana. He also sings about his obsession with his wife, and that he can’t eat and sleep without her. Justin also mentions that he lost some friends because she was his priority, therefore he didn’t have time to spend it with his friends. It’s again a personal song but it’s not written to be a hit single. 

couple

Breeze Off the Pond

Another song, which fits perfectly into the concept of “Man of the Woods”. In “Breeze Off the Pond” Justin compares their love to an oak tree and claims that it’s solid and that it can’t be blown away. “What we got is solid as oak, so you know it’ll never blow away”. He uses nature to describe the power of their love. His vocals are adequate but not fascinating, I still like the melody during the chorus. A slow energetic catchy love song with a smooth chorus. The outro consists only of Justin’s vocals without any instrumentals, which is an interesting ending.

Livin’ Off the Land

Justin probably wrote this song for all the men, who live off the land. He thematizes the financial difficulties a man of the woods can have. He describes their uneasy working conditions, but he still believes in all these men. “I’m just a man doing the best that I can. Saint or a sinner, the loser can be a winner with a plan, when you’re living off the land”. The beat of this track is very motivational, and his vocals are alternating between singing and speaking. In the intro, you can also hear voices of some men, who describe how it feels for them to be a man of the woods. An inspirational song.

The Hard Stuff

As you noticed there weren’t any ballads till now. I assume that this song could be counted as a ballad, even though it’s uplifting. In “The Hard Stuff” Justin isn’t looking for an easy life, he is rather ready to fight against any challenges that could occur in his life. He claims that this hard stuff makes a person real. “So give me the hard stuff, the kind that makes you real. I wanna be there when the storm comes”. He also promises his lover to be there for her whatever happens. His vocals are nice and soft, and the guitar makes it more emotional.

Young Man

Finally, we reached the last track of the album and this one was really touching, I had goose skin during the bridge and was almost moved to tears. In this song, Justin gives advice to his two-year-old son, Silas Randall Timberlake. During the intro and outro, you can hear Silas’ voice. I don’t want to describe this song more, you should listen to it by yourself.

My Tops: Higher Higher, Say Something, Supplies, Morning Light, Livin’ Off the Land, The Hard Stuff, Young Man

My Flops: Filthy, Hers (interlude)

After going through to all 16 tracks I must say that Justin Timberlake did a great job. Actually, I didn’t like most of the tracks, when I heard them for the first time, maybe because Justin has changed his music style and I wasn’t expecting this type of music. But after listening to them for several times I realized how good they were written and could understand the lyrics much better and therefore also the story behind the album. I really liked the concept: the man of the woods, it describes Justin Timberlake perfectly. I’m in love with the album cover since orange is my favorite color. Just because of this fact, I’ll probably buy the album as a CD.

Justin Timberlake wrote and produced the most part of the album by himself, but I must mention two other important names, which also co-worked on almost every song with him, these are Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Overall, the album starts with songs about sex and gets more emotional, personal, and inspirational towards the ending, which is a nice balance between the 16 tracks. Justin made interesting intros and outros for most tracks. In my opinion, this album isn’t made for teenagers, they can’t relate to these songs, even I can’t relate to this album with my 21 years. It’s an album for grown adults, who settled down in their lives. I’m sure I will love this album when I’m over 30.  To end this album review I want to let you know that Justin Timberlake released another #1 album. “Man of the Woods” entered the Billboard 200 chart on the top as number one this week.

I’ll link you some of his newest music videos down below, so you can watch them. Also, write me your opinion about “Man of the Woods” in the comment section. Thanks for reading. Eren

 

 

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