Music critics and highbrow listeners may look down their nose at Justin Timberlake
, doubting that the celebrated former N'Sync leader is good for more than light, frothy dance-pop. Timberlakes's sophomore effort, Futuresex/Lovesounds
, should make both camps rethink that stance. While the album certainly sets out to entertain, it's also full of ambitious, well-constructed grooves that prove the superstar is serious about getting down and dirty. The album steps up the Michael Jackson-influenced sound of Justified
by delving deeper into club music, hip-hop, and funk, creating a bumping, writhing soundtrack for a set of songs unabashedly about sex.
Timberlake spared no expense recruiting some of the best producers on the scene. Beatmaker extraordinaire Timbaland is a primary collaborator, and his experimental stutter-funk landscapes make for the album's best moments (the title track, for example, or the spare, driving lead-off single "Sexyback"). Early Prince is a major touchstone for much of the disc, but Timberlake also draws on rolling, Dirty South jams ("Chop Me Up") and smooth, urban-contemporary loverman R&B ("My Love"). Its obsession with the bedroom notwithstanding, Futuresex/Lovesounds shows Timberlake moving toward an exciting musical maturity.
1. FutureSex / LoveSounds
3. Sexy Ladies
4. My Love
5. Love Stone
6. What Goes Around
8. Summer Love
9. End Of Time
10. Losing My Way
11. Damn Girl
13. Another Song