Justin Timberlake’s 23 Top 10 Singles (Including *NSYNC!): Revisited, Reviewed & Ranked
6. Justin Timberlake featuring T.I., “My Love”Year: 2006Chart Peak: #1
This song is one of the foundational texts of the PBR&B explosion of the 2010s. With cyborg theremin wails, slo-mo rave synths and a frail falsetto, it’s the midpoint between the space futurism of Aaliyah and Ginuwine‘s hits, and the robo-blues that would emerge with 808s & Heartbreak. But to give you an indication of just how dark this production really was a decade ago, echoes of that synth line can be heard in later songs from coldwavers like Crystal Castles and Trust.
The fact that JT and Tim flipped such narcotized music into a chart-topper opened the door for guys like The Weeknd to hit big with something as sinister as “The Hills” nearly a decade later. — CARL WILLIOTT
5. *NSYNC, “It’s Gonna Be Me”Year: 2000Chart Peak: #1
And here we have the very first time JT hit the top of the US singles chart. All April 30th memes aside, *NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” is much more than Timberlake sounding like he’s saying “May” instead of “Me” on the hook. This second single off 2000 blockbuster No Strings Attached arrived with the group poised as bona fide superstars and a music video that was a visual metaphor for their success.
Hanging out in a toy store as dolls of themselves (that emerge from their boxes, because, “no strings attached”), the group fights old school, oversized G.I. Joe dolls in the playful clip before settling in at Barbie’s Dream House.
Regardless of the vocal inflection, there’s a reason why Justin was the one to yell, “It’s gonna be me!” Talk about predicting the future. — KATHY IANDOLI
4. Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”Year: 2013Chart Peak: #2
An eight-minute song doesn’t always materialize into something awesome, but here it actually worked. “Mirrors,” the second single off the first half of Justin’s The 20/20 Experience, was actually written conceived four years prior to its 2013 release. With the help of producers and songwriters Timbaland, J-Roc and James Fauntleroy, Timberlake finally recorded the Grammy nominated epic for 20/20, and the Floria Sigismondi-directed video — which ultimately snagged the MTV VMA for Video Of The Year — revisited the decades-spanning love of the singer’s grandparents.
It’s a tearjerker visual, enhanced by Justin’s sentimental vocals. And then, before you know it, the eight minutes are over and you’re rewinding to relive it again. — KATHY IANDOLI
3. Justin Timberlake, “What Goes Around… Comes Around”Year: 2006Chart Peak: #1
By 2006, everyone was craving a Justin single that would match up to searing 2002 break-up anthem “Cry Me A River.” And when “What Goes Around… Comes Around” dropped that December, it didn’t just meet expectations, chart-wise; it surpassed them.
Produced by Timberlake, Timbaland and Danja, this tune finds Justin coming back with a serious vengeance. If it wasn’t the perfect combination of dizzying strings and infectious drum beats that won you over, it was JT’s downright ruthless lyrics. He broods with the following in the song’s interlude:
And now you want somebody to cure the lonely nights You wish you had somebody that could come and make it right But girl, I ain’t somebody with a lot of sympathy, you’ll see
And if that didn’t work, perhaps it was the song’s iconic, burlesque-style video starring Scarlett Johansson that really did you in.
Food for thought: This track is also probably what influenced many a Taylor Swift kiss-off ballad in the years to come. — RACHEL SONIS