With his 37th birthday passing this Wednesday, former *NSYNC member Justin Timberlake is celebrating with his 5th full-length album. The opener “Filthy” is a sex tune over a messy, techno-pop instrumental from Timbaland & Danja. The next song “Midnight Summer Jam” gets celebratory over a funky instrumental from The Neptunes (who produced a bulk of the album surprisingly) with an acoustic guitar & some fiddles.
The track “Sauce” gets playful over a funk rock instrumental from Timbo & Danja while the title track is a dedication to his wife Jessica Biel over a Neptunes best with some rubbery bass along with a twangy guitar at the beginning that later progresses into something more funky. The song “Higher, Higher” talks about Jessica yet again over a guitar & the keyboards on here are vintage Neptunes. The track “Wave” sees JT basically telling Jessica to come away to an island with him over some acoustic guitars while the song “Supplies” talks about how they’ll be living like The Walking Dead over a sitar.
The track “Morning Light” is a duet with Alicia Keys about how they wanna spend 1 more night with each other over a smooth yet funky instrumental while the song “Say Something” is a decent country-rock duet with Chris Stapleton about being caught up in the music. After the “Hers” interlude, we then go into the next song “Flannel. However, it’s pretty much JT impersonating what sounds like if R. Kelly made a country ballad. The track “Montana” gets romantical over a vintage Neptunes beat with an acoustic guitar & the song “Breeze Off the Pond” uses nature similes over an instrumental that kinda reminds me of Pharrell’s last solo album G I R L.
The track “Livin’ Off the Land” talks about being a man doing his best over some predominant bass & twangy guitars. The strings near the end are nice touch as well. The penultimate track “The Hard Stuff” pretty much tells Jessica how much he loves her over a laidback country instrumental while the closer “Young Man” pays tribute to JT’s son Silas over a Timbo instrumental with mostly guitars & organs.
While it’s not even close to a Justified sequel or anything like that, I think this is big improvement over the 2nd disc of Justin’s last album The 20/20 Experience. The lyrics are mostly endearing & the production is funky as ever, but I should point out the fact that Justin incorporates more country elements on here & it actually works out pretty well given that he’s from Memphis. Sure it isn’t reinventing the wheel, but I really love hearing JT’s maturity on here