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Justin Timberlake and the return of the Dapper Pop Star

We met in elementary school… met may be the wrong word, but I certainly never forgot the day I saw him. It was innocent enough with us dealing with occasional awkward dance moves and poor 90’s fashion choices.

Press Photo. (Google Plus)
Press Photo. (Google Plus)

He got caught being inappropriate with a girl in public and I didn’t see him for a while. People changed and I went through middle school distracted by boys with flat-ironed bangs and heavy eyeliner. Then, one day, he came back. My best friend called in near tears, “He’s so cute. He literally brought sexy back, Rachel. Rachel, he’s so cute”. Since the day he returned, we’ve been inseparable. Sure, he’s married now but our relationship has never been stronger. Justin Timberlake will always have a special place in my heart and ears especially with his newest album “The 20/20 Experience.”

While I’m positive that even Dick Cheney can’t resist yelling out a “go ahead be gone with it” to accompany the 2006 single “Sexyback,” Timberlake has remained on the pop culture radar as a charming man-about-town. As of two weeks ago, he became a member of the Five Timers Club when he started his fifth round acting as host on Saturday Night Live. He has cemented himself as one of the rare species of successful musician/actors that we haven’t seen at his caliber since the days of Bing Crosby. This blend of class (I refuse to seriously write the word “swag”), talent, and charm will woo you right back into his arms like the first time you saw him and the rest of ‘N Sync singing “I Want You Back”. His PR team realized the magic of a dapper looking Timberlake on anyone’s eyes and ears. They decided to release “Suit and Tie” a collaboration with Jay-Z as his debut single but apparently didn’t listen to it beforehand. The song, while not bad, is not nearly as seductive or dance-inducing as the rest of his album. However, it does provide material for a video literally showing Timberlake at the height of luxury singing next to Jay-Z. They made the right move not to push it for too long. Instead, his charm took over NBC for two weeks with a night of hosting Saturday Night Live, followed by a full set on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to be dubbed “Justin Timberweek.” His album was available for streaming on iTunes for the duration of those weeks and garnered millions of pre-orders.

The album is filled with feel-good shoulder dancing songs like “Mirrors” and “Let the Groove Get In.” Timberlake explores his musical style between sexy pop exercises like “Pusher Love Girl” and hip-shaking vocalizations with “Strawberry Bubblegum.”

Sometimes his boy band roots begin to show through over processed vocals over a drum machine like in “Tunnel Vision,” but we can work out to this song and pretend that it belongs with the rest of our 90’s pop music playlist.

I will always admire Timberlake as an artist and as an extremely good looking person.

“The 20/20 Experience” provides a solid hour of dance music and potential drunken falsetto karaoke material.

It is available for purchase starting today and make sure to check out his NBC hijinks for some giggles too!

EDIT 3/3/14. This column won 3rd Place for Best Arts & Entertainment Column/Criticism in the Non-Weekly category at the 2013-14 CCMA Excellence in Student Media Contest. Congratulations, Rachel Levinson!