Women in Music 2019

Justin Timberlake's 'Man of the Woods': What Critics Are Saying

Justin Timberlake finally dropped his Man of the Woods album on Friday (Feb. 2), and while fans are loving it, the reviews are mixed.

Some critics appreciated the semi-country, semi-pop album, while others thought it was a bit incoherent. Critics seem to agree that while there are bad parts, the good parts shine -- it’s just up to the fans to decide which songs are which.

If you’re on the fence about how you feel about the album, check out what critics had to say about Man of the Woods below.

"On his fifth album, Justin Timberlake continues to stay dedicated to Timbaland/Neptunes futuresex beats and his familiar lovesound come-ons that have made him the biggest male pop star of his generation. But, as its title implies, much of Man of the Woods also comes with the moonshine-and-mason-jar glisten of country, blues and folk. You might expect a smooth guy like JT to use this backdrop for a pickup-truck cruise across the Florida-Georgia line. Instead, he has something more timely in mind for our new dark age: It's the end of the world as we know it, and Justin Timberlake wants to have you naked for the apocalypse." -Rolling Stone, 3.5/5

"For all its flaws, it’s hard not to be impressed by Man of the Woods. You can hear the effort that went into making it: Timberlake could more easily have churned out an identikit pop album using the same writing and production teams that every identikit pop album calls on, and relied on his celebrity to make it a massive hit. The good bits are great, the bad bits best avoided, but in a pop world where originality isn’t much encouraged, there’s something really laudable about the intention behind it, and its author’s willingness to think outside the box".- The Guardian, 3/5

"Man of the Woods, while certainly not 2018’s worst album, is further evidence that Timberlake is far from the pop music innovator he once was. The album’s highlights, from the nimble disco of 'Midnight Summer’s Jam' and 'Breeze' to the drawling Alicia Keys collab 'Morning Light', all fall within the singer’s vintage-soul comfort zone." -USA Today

"With his fifth studio album, Timberlake isn’t re-inventing the wheel, but he solidly continues to experiment with R&B, funk, pop and soul, with Americana creating an interesting layer. Man of the Woods does make certain that Timberlake will never stop challenging himself to enter into new territory"- The Independent, 3/5

"Throughout Man of the Woods, Timberlake’s high, breathy vocals stab out a message of 'escape to the country' with all the conviction of a Michael Jackson impersonator jamming with the Drive-By Truckers in an Alabama roadhouse bar. It is a nice idea, but you know it is not going to end well."- The Telegraph, 3/5

"Timbaland and the Neptunes handle the vast majority of the production, and most of it looks backward, not forward. The Neptunes, especially, thrive with this approach, especially on 'Higher Higher,' a gleaming 1970s soundtrack homage. There are outliers — the throbbing pulse of 'Filthy' has reverberations of acid house, and 'Supplies' suggests someone has been listening to Migos — but for much of this album, Mr. Timberlake is content to live in the past." -The New York Times

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