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Music Reviews

MPAA Rating
The 20/20 Experience
Pop, Rap/Hip-Hop
Peaked at No. 4.
Record Label
January 14, 2013
Adam R. Holz
Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

"Suit & Tie"

When last we heard from Justin Timberlake, at least musically, he was bringing "Sexy Back" … back in 2006. (It was one of three chart-topping hits from his album FutureSex/LoveSounds.) So for those of you scoring at home, nearly seven years have gone by since his last foray onto the charts—a veritable eternity in the realm of entertainment … and a lifetime for some alpha dogs.

Will music fans still be interested in the same ol' JT? Because he is, indeed, still singing the same ol'. Timberlake's new song, "Suit & Tie" sounds practically vintage, in fact. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.

As he did on "Sexy Back," Justin has teamed up with writer/producer Timbaland. Jay Z adds a verse, too, and I'll get to that in a minute. The song's intro, a dreamy, languid, horn-filled section that's somewhat disconnected from the rest of the tune finds JT repeating this couplet: "I be on my suit and tie s‑‑‑, tie s‑‑‑, tie/I be on my suit and tie s‑‑‑, tie s‑‑‑."

That inauspicious beginning quickly brings the profanity tally up to 8 s-words before giving way to somewhat less problematic verses about asking a woman (perhaps Timberlake's new bride, actress Jessica Biel?) to dance. "I can't wait till I get you out on the floor, good-looking," he tells her. Then he adds, "Going out so hot, just like an oven/And I'll burn myself, but just had to touch it/It's so fly, and it's all mine."

Later, he compliments his girl on her dress ("And you're dressed in that dress I like") and tells her, "Love is swinging in the air tonight/Let me show you a few things/ … Show you a few things about love."

Read a double entendre or two into those lines if you wish, but it was just when I was starting to wonder whether matrimony and the passage of all those dog years have mellowed Mr. Timberlake a bit that he fires up a lighter to smoke a big marijuana blunt ("Stop, let me get a good look at it/So thick, now I know why they call it a fatty") and confesses, it seems, that smoking weed has become a habit ("S‑‑‑ so sick, got a hit and picked up a habit").

Enter Jay-Z to deliver his signature dose of high-style swagger, a stream-of-consciousness concoction that moves from frivolous ("Y'all sit back and enjoy the light show") to sexual ("Years of distress, tears on the dress/try to hide her face with some makeup sex") to chemical ("I'll show you how to do this young/No papers, catch vapors/Get high, out Vegas"). He, strangely, issues instructions for the in-laws ("Tell your mother that I love her 'cause I love you/Tell your father we go farther as a couple/They ain't lose a daughter, got a son/I show you how to do this, hun!") And we also hear, "You just got good genes so a n-gga tryna cuff you."

And then it's back to JT, his girl and the dance floor: "And as long as I've got my suit and tie/I'ma leave it all on the floor tonight."

Justin Timberlake is known for being a pretty snazzy dresser. The suave man on the scene. His music, though, too often shows up looking a bit unkempt. Sometimes even slovenly.