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  • Writer's pictureTori Sipe

Everything I Thought It Was Delivers Everything The Fans Thought It Would Be

Justin Timberlake is a hot topic. You love him or you hate him. There's one thing you can't deny, and that's his multifaceted talent as a performer and musician. I've read many negative reviews of this album and the only question I have for them is why? Is your bias against Justin from all of the negative tabloid and media attention he's gotten in the past year or do you genuinely not enjoy the smooth, sexy vibe of his 6th studio album?

This review is not for the haters. Whether it's the extremely catchy dance track No Angels or the sensual make out jam Technicolor, he has a song for every mood. Overall, Justin has described this album as having a little bit of everything, taking sounds from each of his solo albums and making a career retrospective if you will. I don't see anything wrong with that. Fans can so subtly pick out which album each song sounds like, Flame is basically Let the Groove Get In part two, and with a 77 minute running time, they want more of it.

Another issue most seem to have is the run time. 'It's too long.' Ariana Grande's newest release clocks in at 35 minutes. Just under how long an episode of Supernatural would be. JT takes a page out of the books of artists like Donna Summer, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder, who have some of their biggest universally known hits clocking in at run times of 8 minutes and 13 seconds, 6 minutes and 23 seconds, and 7 minutes and 8 seconds. That's why the 20/20-esque sensuality of Technicolor, clocking in at 7 minutes and 17 seconds leaves fans completely satisfied and not clamoring for more, except for needing to put the song on repeat.

EITIW is heavily produced by Timbaland, one of JT's most frequent collaborators, having been lead producer on FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience Parts 1 and 2. The Neptunes are completely absent from this album after producing and writing 9 out of 16 tracks on his last album, Man of the Woods, even though Justin had admitted to being in the studio with them. Justin wrote around 100 songs for this album, so obviously Pharrell didn't make the cut. Even though this album is receiving mixed reviews, Man of the Woods received even more mixed reviews, so it's possible JT just wasn't feeling it this time around.

Would those Neptunes led songs been more universally loved? We'll never know. Regardless, he had a trove of songs to choose from, and while the record isn't the most cohesive, it does take sounds from his entire catalogue after all, it works. Overall the saucy disco vibes of dance tracks like My Favorite Drug and Fuckin' Up the Disco, mesh well with the drippy Play, run time 2 minutes 51 seconds - ahh a short song, and home grown tribute Memphis. Not unlike JC Chasez's solo debut Schizophrenic, you know the other guy from *NSYNC - which was touted as not having a sound and being an eclectic mash up, but ends up having an anti-sound sound, Justin does sort of the same thing. His vision of having music from multiple points in his career was smart, and that in of itself makes this album have a cohesive sound. True fans of Timberlake know this is the penultimate of his solo career, and his greatest work to date.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one thing in particular that makes this album that much more special to fans. Paradise. An *NSYNC song in the year of 2024. I never thought I would see this day come to fruition. While *NSYNC released Better Place for the Trolls soundtrack back in September of last year, it didn't truly feel like *NSYNC. Paradise has everything a thirsty millennial fan would want. It's a ballad, the harmonies are chef's kiss, and JC is back in better form than ever taking over the whole second verse. The only thing to do now is for all the *NSYNCers to decipher the clues and hidden easter eggs Justin put into the multiple deluxe versions of the vinyl. Any Swifties want to help us out with deciphering the hieroglyphics? Will *NSYNC reunite for a music video and single and thus launch a reunion album and tour during their 30th anniversary band year in 2025? Only time will tell and with Justin and the other band members liking fan videos breaking down these clues, the hype is getting to be all too real.

You can tell Justin Timberlake put in the work to make this album his masterpiece. Everything I Thought It Was debuting at number 4 on the Billboard charts is certainly nothing to scoff at seeing as how all of his albums have debuted in the top 5. Justin has yet to crossover into having Gen Z as a big part of his audience, and with Ariana Grande's competing album, Eternal Sunshine, taking the top spot for the second week in a row, it would've been an uphill battle to debut at number 1, despite the major promotion he's been doing the last few months, including the reunion of *NSYNC at his One Night Only show in LA on the 13th. The promotion did work for ticket sales for his upcoming Forget Tomorrow World Tour, which skyrocketed, and many shows being nearly sold out and more dates needing to be added. Justin is back and better than ever before, and with the album ending with the lyrics:

You're not alone

You've got so much more to grow

Keep going, a love without a ceiling

That's how you know

You're everywhere you thought that you could be

You're not alone

Gotta long, long way to go

You are love, you are love

You are loved

You are love, you are love

You are everything you thought that it could be

You feel like you really see Justin for the first time, but you also knew him all along. Everything I Thought It Was is everything the fans thought it would be and then some.

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