Justin Timberlake returns with a new song
In his “Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake is worlds apart from the bleach-blond boy of the ‘N Sync era.
The mid-tempo R&B single makes for a fantastic comeback after a six-year hiatus. It’s a slow drawl at first, but moves swiftly into a set of swinging lyrics.
“All pressed up in black and white,” Timberlake croons, “and you’re dressed in that dress I like, love is swinging in the air tonight, let me show you a few things.”
Finger snaps and big band horns punctuate the smooth rhythm.
Jay Z cuts in about halfway through. The transition is fluid, and he picks up right where Timberlake left off, focusing on high-style and sophistication.
“Nothing exceeds like excess, Stoute got gout from having the best of the best, is this what it’s all about?”
“Stoute” is apparently a reference to Jay-Z’s friend Steve Stoute. “Gout,” meanwhile, refers to the arthritis which results from overindulging in food and alcohol. Historically it was called “the rich man’s disease.”
The song debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100, and then quickly climbed to its peak at number four, selling 315,000 downloads in the week of its release. It was the most successful first week since Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” which began with 521,000 in April 2012.
A tuxedo-clad Timberlake performed “Suit & Tie” live alongside Jay-Z at the 85th Annual Grammy Awards in February.
In the years since his last album, Timberlake starred in movies such as “The Social Network” and “Friends with Benefits.” He also began dating actress Jessica Biel, whom he married in Italy last October.
The complete album, “The 20/20 Experience,” will be released March 19. It’s currently available for pre-order on iTunes for $10.99.
Timberlake explained the album’s title in an interview with Ryan Seacrest.
“I was playing some of the stuff for my friends and they would come in and out of the studio and I’d say, ‘What do you think of this?’ And my best friend said, ‘This is music that you can see,’ and for some reason that stuck with me,” he said.
Timberlake’s return was mostly kept quiet. In early January he posted a link to a YouTube video on his Twitter account. Timberlake expressed his desire to produce work he could be proud of – quality over quantity. Rather than pumping out records like the Duggars do children, he waited for undeniable inspiration. This patience and attention to detail should pay off.
In an interview published in Rolling Stone, Timberlake sounded happy with the process and finished product.
“For me, when I do have something that I’m ready to express, I’m gonna burrow through whatever to get it heard. But for me, the journey along the way is really the most fun part; it’s not about the outcome. It’s really about making something that feels authentic.
“I was just like, ‘Let’s make some music without all the hoopla of, like expectations. Let’s just make something that feels genuine from us.’ And I’m glad we were able to do that way because, for me, it’s the best stuff I’ve ever done.”
If “Suit and Tie” is any indication, he’s absolutely right.
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