Justin Timberlake has returned to music

Never before has anyone taken a seven-year hiatus from their craft, and still managed to stay extremely relevant in the world.

Timberlake’s most recent album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, was released in 2006, and was met with universal acclaim. It propelled Justin Timberlake from his boy-band image and affirmed his as a solo artist. And not just a solo artist, but a transcendent solo artist. And that is a word I’d never thought I’d use to describe him.

But since that album’s release, he has appeared in several movies and has hosted Saturday Night Live a few times. He’s probably also banged more chicks than I’ll ever want to know, because that number will make me cry.

When his last album was released, and the song “SexyBack” hit the radio waves, I’ll admit that I thought it was atrocious. I didn’t know what the hell was going on in that song.

However, it grew on me. I heard it more, and then I heard the other songs on the album, and I began to appreciate the risks that Timberlake took with his new sound. And in the half-dozen years since its release, it’s only become obvious just how influential it was towards other artists.

Many other artists have tried to emulate Timberlake’s methods towards success, by crossing such genres as R&B, hip-hop, dance and soul, and tried to invent their own particular sound. But most of the time they fall short. Although I do admit that Frank Ocean is doing a pretty good job.

Well now JT has a new single, and he wasted no time collaborating with the big guns. This time, Jay-Z spits some words on the track. Here it is. straight from Timberlake’s own VEVO:

I’m not going to lie, I actually like the song. It is not at all my type of genre, but I really have no problem with it. I won’t load it on my iPod, or even admit that I like it in public, but when I’m in my car and it comes on the radio — I won’t change the station.

It’s pretty crazy to consider that Justin Timberlake is only 31 years old. The man has had enough careers to last three lifetimes. In fact, he could have quit after *NSYNC and he’d have accomplished more than the majority of people will in their lifetime  Instead, he went on to become an accomplished solo artist and a solid actor.

NSync

Justin first burst onto the scene as one-fifth of *NSYNC at the age of 17, when the group released their self-titled debut album. It went onto become 10x platinum in the U.S., and the boy-band released two subsequent albums that went 11x platinum and 5x platinum, respectively.

But as soon as they came, they were gone. Just a few years after their new-found success, the boy-band era came to an abrupt close, and there wasn’t as much of a place for them in the music industry.

And then, after highly publicized flings with Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz, Timberlake released his first solo album, Justified, in late 2002. It was a respectable effort, going 3x platinum, but it didn’t really alter JT’s image. The album did have a few hits, most notably “Cry Me a River,” which still gets some playing time on the radio these days, more than a decade later.

But regardless, I think at that point, people were still probably asking him, “Yo Justin, so when is *NSYNC putting out its next album?” Although, at the very least, he was able to say that his solo career was already progressing much more smoothly than former bandmate JC Chasez’s.

Also in the early-to-mid 2000s, Justin established himself as one of the most enjoyable Saturday Night Live hosts of the new century. The exposure helped his public image, and helped America realize that he actually does have a pretty good personality. He had the look, the voice and the likability. In other words —  what more can one asshole have? I just want one of those things!

Timberlake SNL

Timberlake started becoming a serious actor around the time that FutureSex/LoveSounds was being released. His first significant role was in the 2006 film Alpha Dogs, in which he played a tattoo-wearing, tough-guy, drug addict. One can argue that Timberlake may have even taken the role to try to distance himself from his goody-goody boy-band image.

He wasn’t half bad in the role, and in hindsight, it was a very admirable first attempt at acting. I remember seeing the movie after its release, and being a bit surprised at how natural he seemed, even if his acting was very raw.

But then 2007 arrived, and we entered the post-FutureSex/LoveSounds era, where Timberlake had already solidified his place as a world-renowned, revered uber-celebrity. The album was so successful that nobody was talking about *NSYNC anymore. The album’s songs lasted on the radio for years, and the record even netted him a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Not too shabby.

But then JT disappeared from music, and decided to hone his skills at acting. He took several smaller roles, before finally establishing himself as a bonafide actor in David Fincher’s 2010 drama The Social Network.

Timberlake social networkNow I am very judgmental when it comes to movies, but even I think that Timberlake did a great job in this film. Was it Oscar-worthy? Of course not. But he played the part as Sean Parker very well, didn’t overdo it, and was an asset to the film. It really caught me off guard, to be honest.

Riding the success of that role, he appeared in supporting and/or lead roles in other films like Bad Teacher, Friends With Benefits, In Time and Trouble With the Curve. None of which I actually hated. Bad Teacher was funny, and I enjoyed Trouble With the Curve, which starred Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. The other two are hardly must-see.

Though Timberlake still does have a few movies upcoming, according to IMDB, it appears that he finally answered the question that many people — mostly women — were asking: When is the dude going to put out another album?

Well, it appears that the answer is ‘now.’ His next album, The 20/20 Experience, is due to drop at some point this year. And with a single already leaked — by Justin himself — it probably means it will be sooner rather than later.

It’s quite a plight for the multi-talented Timberlake, who began his singing career as a member of the Mickey Mouse Club alongside future stars as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling. He already has 23 acting titles and has played a significant part in five multi-platinum albums. And he’s only 31. It’s not often you can afford to even take a seven-year hiatus when you are still in your 20s, but his early success allowed him to do so. It’s safe to say that Timberlake has handled life pretty well so far.

Some people get lucky. They are blessed with good looks, singing ability and charm. Others are not. It’s safe to say that Justin Timberlake was born with the former. And that aside from the looks, I am the latter.

But hey, I’ve still got five years until I’m 30. I can still act in 20 movies and release five albums over that time span, right?

On top of that, I’m an expert in future sex, because it’s the only type I am accustomed to.

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