Justin Timberlake is ready! The question is: Are we?
Finally, after nearly seven years since he last released recorded music, JT is back, and with an assist from Jay-Z of all people. JT and Jay-Z, son! It’s Timberlake’s first slab of new music in, like, forevs, so expectations are high. Does he meet them on the throwbacky single ‘Suit & Tie?’
The song has a repetitive, da-dum, da-dum beginning, backed by some jazzy horns. It’s almost a false intro, leaving you thinking that you are in for a downtempo, droney, EDM-influenced track. ‘Suit & Tie’ is anything but! Timberlake didn’t succumb to “right now” trends. He instead chose to go classic.
JT and his Michael Jackson-inspired falsetto kick in after that psych-you-out opening. The song has a bit of a ’70s energy to it. It’s smooth and suave, like JT and Jay-Z.
It’s slick, that’s for sure. But it’s got soul. There’s no Auto-tune. There’s no studio tricks, nor are there any excess bells and whistles needed to mask the fact that Timberlake can’t sing, since, well, he can. He is one of the best of his generation when it comes to vocal talent.
“As long as I’ve go my suit and tie / I’m gonna leave it all on the floor tonight,” croons the singer in the chorus, which will stick in your craw.
Jay-Z drops his rap part in the bridge, boasting and bragging about hip designer Alexander Wang, truffle season, and wearing tuxedeos for no reason. The Hova adds little street cred and energy to the song while Timberlake croons in his high voice underneath.
This will certainly require a few listens before you love it.
JT stepped away from music when he was at the very top of his game, so it takes a minute to reacquaint with him and that voice! Pop music has changed so much, but Timberlake is the real deal, not some flavor of the moment.
It’s not an instant hit like ‘SexyBack’ or ‘Cry Me a River,’ since it’s so rooted in a horn-driven, ’70s style. But give it a few spins and you’ll get there, with “there” being lovin’ it.
The last minute of the semi-dreamy tune slows back down and is filled with layers and synths. It’s at once modern and from another era.
Welcome back, JT!