Justified – Justin Timberlake (2002); Track-by-Track review

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Before he was a Triple Crown winner, an Oscar nominee and the world’s most unusual looking man, Pharrell was a Neptune…

…and the Neptunes’ remit was to take ex Mickey Mouse Clubbers and turn them into sexy and credible musical superstars.

This was the early Noughties and boybands were breaking up worldwide, leaving 20-somethings with beautiful hair destitute…

…and one such curly haired songsmith out of Sync with his mates was Memphis native and ‘urban re-inventor’ Justin Timberlake.

It’s the Pharrell Williams-produced-and-mostly-written debut from my boy JT, Justified…

Justified by Justin Timberlake.

Justified pictured with a Tennessee Williams playbill.

(song titles in caps)

Justified opens with JT and Pharrell high pitchin’ and making jazz listenable on the ultra smooth SEÑORITA. Love the call and answer.

A guitar zigzags and LIKE I LOVE YOU is one of the greatest urban pop songs in history and Clipse’s rap at the close is better than anything by Mozart.

The Timbaland-penned (OH NO) WHAT YOU GOT utilises percussion and whistles to create a neo New Jack Swing sound recalling MJ’s Dangerous.

TAKE IT FROM HERE is classic JT lush over Neptunes smooth. Dim the lights, slip into a onesie and enjoy a Kahlua with the one you love. I love how Pharrell rhymes Sweden with Garden of Eden.

Before Mirrors and Sexyback CRY ME A RIVER was JT’s signature song. Vocal flexibility, Britnuendo and a killer chorus: ‘the damage is done’.

ROCK YOUR BODY debuted at #1 in Australia on my 22nd birthday. infectious, joyful and ubiquitous in its day. Love the top JT wears in video.

NOTHIN’ ELSE is a simple pop soul number with a defining characteristic: the first hints of electronica from JT’s and Pharrell’s later work.

Before making Chris Brown a star, The Underdogs team worked with JT on the fantastically boring STILL ON MY BRAIN. A real low point.

Timbaland and Janet co-perform on the jacked up, tribal drums infused (AND SHE SAID) TAKE ME NOW. Very interesting sounds on this track.

Bubba Sparxxx was a pre-Nelly southern rapster once popular for a few seconds. He drrrawls out some rhymes on the clappy RIGHT FOR ME.

Justified ends with the Brian McKnight-penned NEVER AGAIN, JT’s effort to channel Christina Aguilera. A powerful song in need of a melody.

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