Justin Timberlake fans are rejoicing Tuesday (Jan. 2), as the 36-year-old singer just announced that his next studio album, Man Of The Woods, is arriving just one month later on Feb. 2.
More than four years since Timberlake released his previous LP, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, in September 2013 and a number of teases with studio pictures over that span of time, the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer has certainly made fans eager to hear what he has in store for 2018. And with a rustic album trailer and title that feels much different than what Timberlake has put out in the past, it’s easy to get caught up in wondering what the heck Man Of The Woods will be like.
As we await the arrival of the first track on Friday and the rest of the album on Feb. 4, just two days before Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII halftime performance, we put together a wish list of what we’d like to see from the superstar’s fifth record.
A Pharrell feature
As soon as new album speculation began, Pharrell Williams was rumored to be part of Timberlake’s next project — which would mark the first time Pharrell has worked on a JT album since producing half of his 2002 solo debut Justified with The Neptunes. And as the album trailer reveals, Pharrell was heavily involved with Timberlake in the studio, declaring one track a “smash” in the clip. Considering Timberlake has featured prominent vocals from previous album producer Timbaland on several tracks, it wouldn’t be asking too much of him to get a full-on vocal feature from Mr. Williams on Man Of The Woods, right? The two collaborated on Pharrell’s 2014 album G I R L and other non-JT projects previously, and there’s that brief intro to “Senorita,” but we want more!
A truly country track
Timberlake went back to his Tennessee roots on the 2015 CMAs when he took the stage with pal Chris Stapleton to sing a mash-up of their songs “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away” — which subsequently saw Timberlake’s 20/20 track getting country radio play after the buzzy performance. But while “Drink You Away” is a jam, it definitely leans more pop than country. With Timberlake promising that Man Of The Woods is heavily influenced by his upbringing in small-town Tennessee, we would hope that he swings a little more toward Stapleton’s sound than another semi-country tune.
A Silas Randall feature
Timberlake mentions that his son was one of the biggest influences for Man Of The Woods. We can imagine that means we’ll hear a lot of fatherly commentary in the album’s lyrics, and potentially a softer sound for a handful of the tracks — but what we’d really love is to hear little Silas’ voice, especially because we haven’t seen much of his face yet. Hey, Beyoncé has done it with Blue Ivy, so why not have her male pop counterpart do the same with his first-born?
More where this woodsy photo shoot came from
Hours after unveiling the nature-filled trailer that teases the Pharrell-deemed “earthy” album, Timberlake posted a split image of himself half in a suit and half in jeans and a flannel. It could very well be the cover of the album, with Man Of The Woods scribbled below the picture, but Timberlake didn’t reveal the exact story behind the image other than that it was shot by Ryan McGinley Studios. After seeing the visuals in the video teaser, though, we’re hoping this isn’t the last we see of Timberlake being one with nature.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) January 2, 2018
Lots more falsetto
“Pusher Love Girl” may be one of the most under-appreciated songs in Timberlake’s catalog. It’s basically an eight-minute showcase of his insane range and just how amazing he sounds when he pushes for those high notes. Not to mention it’s one of his jazzier jams on The 20/20 Experience, something we’d love to hear at least a little of even if this album leans more country and raw.
Some sort of *NSYNC reunion
This may be wishful thinking, but Timberlake did say this album is influenced by where he’s from. With beginnings as a Mickey Mouse Club mouseketeer and a member of the beloved boy band *NSYNC, it’d only be right for him to pay tribute to his career start — and why not include a member of his former musical group for old times’ sake? Talk about a way to get fans pumped for the Super Bowl…