Release Date: September 12, 2006
Justin Timberlake’s got a lot to live up to. It’s been three years since his smash debut Justified and he’s riding high on the charts with the techno-rap-loop of a song we know and love (or, in some cases, tolerate) as Sexy/Back. Needless to say, anticipation is high for his next move.
The highlights of FutureSex/LoveSounds come early: the throbbing robotic funk and infectious chorus of the title track, the extended disco romp Love Stoned/I Think She Knows and the dribbly synth splash of My Love. Or, as I like to call it: Cry Me A River Pt. Two. But, unfortunately there’s just too much filler here (i.e. the entire second half of the record). The album takes a notable downturn around track seven, where Timberlake regurgitates lyrical banalities over blippy urban/techno beats that in the end all sound quite the same. By the time he reaches Losing My Way, which chronicles the plight of a cocaine addict (complete with choir at the end - and yet it still manages not to be moving), I couldn’t really be bothered to care.
Luckily, the brilliance of the first five tracks on FutureSex/LoveSounds almost makes up for what follows. Without them, the album would have been extremely tedious (see the cringe-inducing ballad Until The End Of Time as evidence). Producer Timbaland’s shadow looms over the entire record, even on the songs he didn’t orchestrate. So, sonically the album sounds great. It’s melody that’s the problem. There just isn’t enough of it. FutureSex/LoveSounds may be banging from car speakers this fall, but a couple years down the line and it’s going to be very easy to forget. B-
Key Tracks: FutureSex/LoveSounds, My Love, Love Stoned/I Think She Knows