Not a Bad Thing
This Is How We Roll
Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan
MAURA JOHNSTON: If the whole of Timberlake's soupy ballad operated in the gauzy mode of its first 17 seconds, it would win this matchup in a walk; however, it winds down into a bland shuffle that sounds like its own Muzak cover. "Roll," on the other hand, takes the mid-tempo gait of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" and adds Bryan for extra outlaw cred. It also has a line about "cussin' on Mondays and prayin' on Sundays," which is at least more emotionally honest than Timberlake's attempts to wear down his intended with an extended "love meeeee" guilt trip. My Vote: "This Is How We Roll"
WILLIAM GRUGER: In JT’s world, love is an elusive, carefully calculated maneuver that one must be careful of, lest they get their heart broken. In Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan’s world, love is plentiful, everywhere, just a party away, just down the street. Casting my vote on behalf of generation YOLO on this one. My Vote: "This Is How We Roll"
DENISE WARNER: It’s difficult to choose the lesser of two evils between a subpar Timberlake track and a derivative country song. Since Timberlake has plenty of FutureSex/LoveSounds goodwill left, it’s the former *NSYNCer by default. My Vote: "Not a Bad Thing"
JOE LYNCH: Timberlake's gentle "Not a Bad Thing" isn't touching or catchy enough to justify how saccharine it is. Florida Georgia Line's twangy rocker with Luke Bryan is an amiable sing-along jam, despite (or maybe partly because of) the hip-hop-inflected chorus. My Vote: "This Is How We Roll"
ALEX GALE: Welcome to 2014, where Timberlake and Timbaland make safe adult-contemporary ballads while a country group raps “holler at your boy” over drum machines. “Not a Bad Thing” mixes J.T.’s sweet boy-band past with some funky Stevie Wonder synth bass, and it will most certainly age better, musically speaking. But “This Is How We Roll” is a bona fide cultural milestone, Exhibit A of country’s expansion from a conservative, middle-aged, inward-looking genre to one that’s young, fearless and increasingly universal. My Vote: "This Is How We Roll"OVERALL WINNER: "This Is How We Roll"