I Can't Call It: Man Of The Woods - Justin Timberlake

Posted On Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Prayerfully if you know me, even if it's just through this site or social media then you'd know I'd NEVER rocked with any boy bands like N'Sync, New Kids On the Block or any other random corny kids singing teeny bop pop. So ya'll could only imagine the look on my face back in '01 when I asked my 'lil sis who sings this song I heard and liked called "Gone" and she told me that it was N'Sync! To say I couldn't believe it would be an understatement but I couldn't front, the song was dope. Then eventually a minute later word gets to ear that the lead singer on "Gone," Justin Timberlake was dropping a solo album produced by The Neptunes and Timbaland. Word?!?!? The Neptunes & Timbo?!?!?So....ummmm...I guess with that production line up...I guess I'm...checking for Justin Timberlake smdh? Now, of course "Justified" turned out to be a banger and there was absolutely no sophomore slump in sight with the 5 mic classic "Future/Sex Love Sounds" either. And then this dude & Timbo had the audacity to follow that up with the 20/20 series which was F$*KING epic with the 1st album getting that coveted 5 mics from me & the 2nd one getting 4.5 mics. So there shouldn't be a reason why I should think his 5th album "Man of the Woods" would be any different right? I mean, outside of the wack ass title of course.

Now, "Man Of The Woods" sets off with the album's 1st single, the Timbo/Danja produced "Filthy" and has a techno pop feel to it and is disgusting, the Neptunes produced "Midnight Summer Jam" has Just telling us "ya'll can't do better then this, act like the south ain't the shit" and is reminiscent of the Timbo/Just banger "Let The Groove In" and the Timbo/Danja produced uptempo "Sauce" won't leave many folk disappointed. When the title track "Man of the Woods" comes on 9 times outta 10 your face will probably scrunch up like mine did, like WTF but by the 2:21 mark you'll be singing the chorus right along with Just, "I brag about you to anyone outside, but I'm a man of the woods it's my pride." The Neptunes produced "Higher Higher" is my ish and stayed on repeat for a good 30 minutes the first time I listened to the album, "Waves" is dope and the album's 2nd single "Supplies" sounds like Just and Pharrell met up with your fave trap producer which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is a cheesy attempt to try to make Just relevant to this new generation. But I guess nowadays cats gotta do what they gotta do to get some airplay, even when you're knee deep in the pop game.

I LOVE the album's 3rd single "Say Sumthin" featuring Chris Stapleton, "Flannel" sounds like Just is cooking something up for the soundtrack of Nashville but by the end of the song I'm sold thanks to the 808's while "Montana" and "Breeze Off the Pond" are both Neptunes produced BANGERS with the latter breaking down how strong the foundation of his relationship is and is easily one of my fave songs off the album. And when the bridge comes in and has Just singing "what I look like trying to hide my life, one of those guys I was taught you should keep it low/nu uh want a billboard space with a big ole sign you can see from the highway"maaaaaaaaaaaaan listen. "Living Off The Land" has Just breaking down the struggles of the game for so many of us nowadays, "I'll be down sometimes it's hard the backed up bills on the credit card, she keeps on runnin to leave if you don't get on your knees/and repay the money you spent but like her trust you cannot get lit, Sunday you go to church back on your knees and you're trying to soul search." "The Hard Stuff" is dope & is Just's take on NE "Can You Stand the Rain" and the album closes with Just's dedication to his son on "Young Man" but my fave song on "Man..." is the Alicia Keys assisted "Morning Light." When I first saw the tracklisting & saw Key's name I was like this song is gonna be wack but in the immortal words of Charlie Murphy...WRONG cause this song is flat out BONKERS! The groove of this track is stupid, Just and Keys' voices sound like they belong together and with Just singing "every time there's a new sunrise I open my eyes, and I say to myself in the whole wide world of guys I'm the luckiest alive" and then Keys hitting back with "I can't even get out of bed with the thoughts you putting in my head, so I say to myself I don't even wanna try every part of me is paralyzed." And the bassline?!?!? PLEASE don't get me started on that damn bassline smdh.

I learned a minute ago that when coming into a new album that you've gotta use that Men In Black thingamajig to erase your memory to what their last album sounded like because a lot of times we hold an artist ransom to what their last body of work was and I think that's what a lot of folk are doing with "Man..." Because if you came into this album  expecting the 3rd disc of the 20/20 series, then yeah, you're gonna be disappointed. Because even though Timbo & Danja check it for 3 songs, this '18 Timbo & Danja don't sound anything like the '06 Timbo & Danja. And the same goes for the Neptunes cause even though I rock with what they blessed Just with on this album it's not "Like I Love You" part 2 is up next on the tracklisting. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Because even though their sound may be different, at the end of the day this is the Neptunes & Timbo we're talking about ya'll! I mean, how bad do ya'll REALLY think a Timbo & Neptunes produced JT album can be? Now I may not be able to tell ya'll what the winning lottery numbers are gonna be tomorrow, but I can tell you this much, this album is absolutely no where as bad as folk are making it out to be and ya'll can trust me on that.

4 outta 5 mics

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