In February, Justin Timberlake released his stylistically eclectic album, Man of the Woods, which channeled his inner country boy. Now he’s back to his roots with a new pop-infused tune, called “SoulMate," a track many are already proclaiming as a frontrunner for the informal title of this year's Song of the Summer.
Now, having a soul mate might sound like a good thing. After all, who doesn't want to be with someone who knows us inside and out.
But let's just say this right up front: That's not the kind of soul mate Timberlake is singing about in his latest effort.
A Kind of Mate
Here's the short take: Timberlake's version of a soul mate really means spending one passionate summer night with a lover.
As the two get close, he has one thing in mind: being “set free” from sexual restraint “just for the night.” And though the word soul might seem to imply a spiritual connection, the kind JT is lusting for is the physical variety. He says, “Let me put my soul on you, it’s only right/Let me pull you up out your body, into mine/Let me be your soul mate for the night.”
According to him, the couple's chemistry is like "magic" … but only after she sheds what she's wearing (“That’s too many clothes for me”) and hides away with him under the covers (“And we can disappear”).
Timberlake's obviously working pretty hard to convince her here, saying he could make her dreams come true in just “miraculous” night“Whatever you believe in could be real/ ‘Cause I believe in miracles/So please right now, you and me right now/We could live our dreams right now/First, lay down.”
It’s Just One Night?
Plenty of Justin Timberlake's songs revolve around sex, of course. So this one is nothing new.
What is problematic here is the way Timberlake implies one steamy night equates to becoming someone's soul mate—never mind that souls don't have much to do with the encounter he's fantasizing about. Instead, we're encouraged to disregard committed emotional intimacy, exchanging it instead "just for one night.”
That’s not how God intends sex and intimacy. And it’s definitely not how you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.