He brought sexy back, all right. Only now it’s wearing spats and impeccably crisp black and white. Justin Timberlake is finally back into music and the world is rejoicing. My only concern is that he might be doing too much, too fast. He hosted SNL for the fifth time this past Saturday, and aside from the unfortunate Caligula sketch, it was one of the best episodes and performances in ages. As of yesterday, Timberlake made his newest album, The 20/20 Experience available for streaming on iTunes, though it’s supposed to drop in a week.
And now he’s on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon all week long, performing a new song every night. He’s even scheduled to sing some of FutureSex/LoveSounds – oh, the nostalgia! But what I’m getting at, probably because I’m worried about it is: is his current overexposure going to belittle his new music?
Now we have grown used to the actor Justin Timberlake, and seeing him with relaxed hair, coiffed to perfection, there are no remnants of the Ramen-curl to be seen. He’s so smooth now from his performance at the Grammy’s, and while part of me is beyond thrilled, another part is trying not to get lost in the glamour of his new aesthetic. I know the knee-jerk reaction is to automatically love whatever he releases, because JUSTIN IS BACK. It’s like people are finally allowed to like pop music again because Timbaland produced it, but there is so much more to Justin than his, for lack of a better word, “swagger.”
When his music was the height of popularity, back in 2007, he was a musician and performer, and then he became an actor, though no one took it too seriously. His role as Sean Parker in The Social Network suddenly made the world realize that he really wasn’t coming back from acting, at least not for a long time. We grew used to Justin Timberlake the actor and comedian, and deep down pined for the “Cry Me a River” days. Because for years we were accustomed to Timberlake the actor and an honorary member of the Lonely Island, it seems that now he’s been reduced down to a celebrity who just happens to sing.
Is he trying to wear too many hats? Is he becoming unlikable? Perhaps. I sincerely hope not. Timberlake has been in the limelight for his entire career and it’s not like everyone is going to forget who he is and from where he’s arisen to such heights. I think he’s trying so hard to reinvent himself and plug his new album, and he doesn’t need to. Some people are not too thrilled about his new hairdo and his newfound cockiness, almost smarminess. His name wields a lot of power in Hollywood and in music, so there’s no need to plug and appear everywhere all at once to remind the world you exist. They know you do, and they have been patiently, or maybe not so patiently in my case, waiting for your return to their iPods.
As much as I’ve come to love the actor Justin Timberlake, I will always love the singer Justin Timberlake much more, and for that reason, even though he’s “back”, I almost want him to back off a bit, you know? Give the world some room to breathe. He is successful and The 20/20 Experience will only stand to bring him even more notoriety, but not if everybody tires of him in the process.
Check out JT’s Suit and Tie featuring Jay-Z :