While watching the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, I viewed Justin Timberlake as just another boy band entrepreneur, trying to make a buck off Michael Jackson. What I didn't expect was the respect that grew for the ex-Mouseketeer. Following the same career paths of fellow so-called ex-popsters Britney Spears, P!nk and Christina Aguilera, Timberlake offers Justified, an infectious disc pulling inspiration from a variety of musicians.
Media ear candy is served up in second single, the Timbaland-produced "Cry Me a River," one of several stabs at JT's ex, Britney Spears. The majority of the disc's remainder is produced by the Neptunes, the Linda Perrys of Justin Timberlake's success. In the same spirit used by Perry with P!nk and Aguilera, Pharell Williams and Chad Hugo create Justified as sort of the musical score of Timberlake's personal life. A favorite here is the buttermilk flow "Last Night," a Jackson-influenced sensual stab at Britney Spears. Janet Jackson showcases her pedophile tendencies in the very dance-worthy "(And She Said) Take Me Now." Another mentionable track here is "Nothing Else," which utilizes all the classic MJ tricks, except decent lyrics (There's no getting around it or in between/You're out of this world except you're not green/You don't know what you mean to me.) "Rock Your Body" is, yet again, a MJ-influenced track, and Justified's most dance-worthy track. The CD ends with the Brian McKnight-produced "Never Again," a power ballad bearing more of a resemblance to N*SYNC material than anything else found here. And yes, "Never Again" is anther ode to Britney Spears.
JT's solo effort is a real shock to the music business. Even though an album's title usually doesn't offer much to the listener (remember P. Diddy's Forever?), Justified works well to describe Timberlake's potential as a solo talent. Justified is guilty pleasure pop at its best.
Crystal at 11/16/2004 11:19:00 AM