Dear Timberlake, please get out of the woods

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Here’s a question: does anyone watch the Super Bowl just for the football anymore, or are we all collectively more invested in the half-time show?

To be fair, historically speaking — and yes, Lady Gaga’s performance last year was indeed historic — the shows are vastly more interesting than the first half of the game. Especially when the Patriots are playing.

This year’s half-time show was Justin Timberlake, a man I’ve been in love with since NSYNC’s halcyon days. By now I’m assuming we’re all aware of the weird transformation JT has been going through as he released his newest album Man of the Woods.

I’ve never been entirely embarrassed by JT; sure he’s made mistakes over the years but my blind loyalty has always seen it through. However, after listening to Man of the Woods, I was ready to revoke any claims of love that still dominated my heart. Then I watched the half-time show and was pacified once again.

It’s not that JT’s performance came close to Lady Gaga or Beyoncé in terms of pizazz — seriously, his outfit made him look like he’d just jumped off a train car and headed for the big city — but there was also something genuine in his show that made it seem like he was there for a good time; that he was having as much fun as those watching him.

The music opens with some serious Steve Jobs imagery which leaves us all with questions. Is JT trying to say that if Steve Jobs had never died iRobot would be a real occurrence? Or is he calling himself the Steve Jobs of music?

I just hate that this doesn’t translate to Man of the Woods. “Supplies”, which is the seventh track on the album and inarguably the worst song, is exactly what I would expect from NSYNC.

He describes it as “classy trap” in the behind-the-scenes and, frankly, I think it was rude of him to insult trap music like that.

The only song I’ll put on repeat is “Filthy”. There’s a reason JT opened with it during the half-time show. The music video as well can attest to its greatness. It was directed by Mark Romanek; whose name you might recognize from other visual works of art like “Hurt” by Johnny Cash or “99 Problems” by Jay-Z.

The music opens with some serious Steve Jobs imagery which leaves us all with questions. Is JT trying to say that if Steve Jobs had never died iRobot would be a real occurrence? Or is he calling himself the Steve Jobs of music?

If that’s the case Justin, why would you say something so bold and yet, so accurate?

The song itself can be described as flawless. We all know that JT sings about sexy well— no one needs to be reminded of “SexyBack”, it was iconic enough that it has remained in our hearts for 12 years.

There’s a pretty vast disconnect between how I view JT’s half-time performance versus how I see his album. The fact that these two things have occurred within the same week is mind boggling.

Because, while Man of the Woods is the perfect example of a mid-life crisis, JT’s half-time performance reminded me why I love him.

Through the dancing and the music, it’s easy to see how he’s stayed famous for most of his lifetime.

Clearly JT is making some bold — and definitely unexpected — moves in his music. But, at the end of the day, I think we can all at least applaud him for trying something new rather than doing what’s expected.

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