Last Friday, Justin Timberlake released a video teaser for his album, Man of the Woods. There were lots of mountains, heavy musing faces, and overall earthly elements. Everything pointed to his most personal album yet with shades of country/americana/folk. Now, there’s “Filthy.”
“Filthy,” is about five minutes of groovy funk and Prince vibes. “Filthy” sounds like an updated and more mature version of the FutureSex/LoveSounds era; there is clear innovation here, and it sounds polarizing at first but it is actually quite great. Lyrically, the song seems to act as a bridge from The 20/20 Experience era to the Man of the Woods era. Justin smoothly and boastfully reciting “Haters gon’ say it’s fake, so real” over a warbling beat tells us that all these different eras are truly apart of the same man.
It’s quite interesting how the track, over the course of four minutes and fifty-four seconds, never quite settles melodically or rhythmically, but it works perfectly. “Filthy” is also stacked with hooks, which really works to its benefit, it’s the most traditionally “pop” aspect of the song.
The video, directed by the legendary Mark Romanek, depicts Timberlake as a Steve Jobs-esque character presenting his newest invention, a dancing robot, to a Pan-Asian conference of sorts. The way I see it, the robot symbolizes the R&B version of Timberlake. The fraudulent forced nature of a robot juxtaposed against the “Haters gon’ say it’s fake, so real” lyric is trying to say that just because the Man of the Woods era is stripped back, does not mean his past albums were not authentic. But, that’s just me.
I have reason to believe that the album will follow through with the teaser, but this is just to reintroduce Justin Timberlake, the artist, to the 2018 music scene.