Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy” New Single Is An Acquired Taste

Mike Nied | January 5, 2018 1:20 am
JT's 'Man Of The Woods' Vinyl
Justin Timberlake is releasing 'Man of the Woods' on orange vinyl.

Justin Timberlake kicked off his Man Of The Woods era tonight (January 5) with the release of new single, “Filthy.” Everything was falling into place for a massive hit. For starters, the 36-year-old reunites with the legendary Timbaland and Danja as well as James Fauntleroy and Larrance Dopson for the banger. Unfortunately, “Filthy” turns out to be something of an acquired taste.

The track is a sprawling, funky and electro-kissed party anthem. “No question, I want it. Fire up, everybody smoking. Your friends, my friends, and they ain’t leaving till six in the morning,” he promises a potential fling before later commanding, “put your filthy hands all over me.” There is no shortage of sing-along moments between the bridge and pre-chorus. But beyond that it is a bit of a non-entity.

That is not to say that it is without some positive attributes. Unsurprisingly, the production is excellent. Danja and Timbaland create a beat that undulates and weaves with almost cinematic qualities. It just is not enough to totally salvage what feels like a throwaway offering. Given his hit-filled discography, it is clear that JT can do much better.

While the song itself is not totally irredeemable, things really begin to unravel with the accompanying music video. The hitmaker teamed up with Mark Romanek for the release. In the past they worked together on the adorable visual for his infectious “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” so it is clear they have chemistry together. That makes what they cooked up for “Filthy” all the more disappointing.

In it, Justin plays the role of a tech creator showcasing his latest invention, a humanoid cyborg, to a crowd of onlookers. Rocking a pair of ridiculous glasses, he commands the robot to dance from behind a curtain and then proceeds to use it to seduce a crew of dancers. The end result is confusing and appears relatively low-budget.

Although “Filthy” is a well-meaning release, it is difficult to determine how it will fit within the scope of the rest of the LP. Thus far the marketing materials have implied that this will be one of JT’s most personal albums to date. He has listed his wife, son and hometown as inspirations, and the visuals have verged on pastoral as he appears in various natural settings. Not anymore.

“Filthy” muddies our expectations and raises questions about what to expect from Man Of The Woods. The ambitious star plans to unleash a new taste of the album every week until its official release on February 2. It is possible that the remaining tracks will be more to speed with what we were expecting, but I still have no idea what to make of this. Give the video a watch up top.

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