Why Justin Timberlake’s Departure from *NSYNC was ‘Justified’ with his solo debut
Boybands were a big hit in the 90’s. Some of the big groups that emerged include Backstreet Boys, Take That, 5ive, Boyzone and NSYNC. As a young girl living in the Philippines, these bands normally go on a promotional tour in Southeast Asia first before they take the risk and gain confidence in serenading the hearts of potential fans in their home countries. I remember a young Justin Timberlake with his curly blonde hair singing and dancing with four other good-looking guys in the tune of “Tearin’ Up My Heart” in one of the noontime TV shows. That time, Backstreet Boys and a number of boybands have been to the country and this is yet ‘one of those’ groups. For me that time, they were too generic. Boybands of the 90’s are the whole package – they can sing, dance and have the good looks worthy to be posted in our room walls. It was also normal for every group to have that one person who really stands out because of the overall package. Backstreet Boys has the boy-next-door prototype Nick Carter, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating is truly the star and with NSYNC, it was the youngest but most talented member named Justin Timberlake.
There’s Something ‘Bout ‘Like I Love You’
I remember the time I first saw the music video of Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You”. It was midnight and I was with some of my classmates at home. We were scheduled to go on an Educational Field Trip in Manila. When Justin popped on the TV screen with his slick music video, we were just stunned. We saw the Michael Jackson influence right away and we ended up talking about how strong Justin’s first solo single was with that one look/listen to the single. We want more! Gimme us more!
CRY ME A RIVER: The Pinky/Stinky Break Up
His past as a Mickey Mouse Club member with the then pop princess rivals Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera kind of helped in boosting Justin’s profile as a pop star. Who didn’t say ‘awww’ when Justin and Britney were snapped in almost every music magazines and websites back then? The most iconic is the denim ensemble that they sported. For young fans, the Justin-Britney break-up is like destroying someone’s idealism about teen love. Yep, it doesn’t last forever. So what does a brokenhearted ambitious artists do when he wants to use the pain creatively? Write a song about it. To turn your suffering into something lucrative, shoot a music video that features a look-alike of your ex-girlfriend. Oh, the damage is gone so I guess I’ll be leaving. If I am not mistaken, this is Justin’s first collaboration with Timbaland. He might have lost his first love, but he definitely found a good partner in songwriting through “Cry Me a River.”
FROM MJ TO JT: Rock Your Body!
Did you know that “Rock Your Body” was initially offered to the King of Pop Michael Jackson? When he had a falling out with the producers The Neptunes, this disco dance tune fell unto Justin’s lap and the rest, as they say, is history. The music video shows that era’s Prince of Pop showcasing his dance moves. It kind of signifies that he is not completely letting go of his boyband persona despite the fact that he decided to go on his own.
SENORITA’s Inspiration in my Blogging Career
My #1 favorite track in the Justified album is “Senorita.” It is the 1st song in the official tracklisting and the 4th single to be released from the album. It is one of the songs Pharrell and The Neptunes created with Justin and it became a summer favorite worldwide. There’s something about that song that makes you want to dance and let lose in a subtle way. The song lyrics is a combination of something romantic yet naughty. Honestly, this song is one of the inspirations in registering my travel blog (www.senyorita.net for shameless plugging – please check it out!). What you need is real love if you can just be in my arms… Any senorita or single woman (or lazy lady for Filipinos) will surely be touched if they here a guy sing this out to her. The song is full of idealism about love and giving everything a guy has, which I just realized as I type this as a common theme in at least half of Justin’s songs in the album.
The Idealistic Lover Boy + Other Tracks
What I enjoy most about listening to Justified is the reminder of how young JT was when the song was released. He was in his early 20’s and is about to embark on an unfamiliar territory on his own. Thanks to his collaboration with The Neptunes and Timbaland, they were able to produce sounds that will soon be a blueprint for future male pop stars. The lyrics of his songs like ‘Let’s Take It From Here’ and ‘Let’s Take a Ride’ automatically brings me back to my high school days when I wished that my crush will sing or dedicate these songs to me. The former is a 6 minute song and listening to it at this age makes me smile on reminiscing how idealistic I was when it comes to love. Meanwhile, the latter reminds me of the *NSYNC song ‘Girlfriend’ and that is a good thing. Let’s just get away… Other tracks from Justified include a Janet Jackson collaboration entitled “(And She Said to Me) Take Me Now”, which honestly is forgettable. Let’s just say I expected something more from this partnership which could’ve delivered something bigger than what they presented. “(Oh No) What You Got” shows Timbaland’s trademark. It’s a good dance song for freestyle and hip hop dancers. It’s kind of like a prelude to FutureSex/LoveSounds and bring sexy back to the world. “Never Again” is the finale song which was written with Brian McKnight. This ballad is simple yet the genuine and raw voice of Justin is highlighted here. Why do I still feel this song is still dedicated to Britney Spears? You didn’t love me enough… For a launching solo album, Justified is a pretty strong one. This is a perfect example of surrounding yourself with the best team. If you work with people who understands your vision even if you’re just a newbie, you will be fine. Seventeen years has passed and Justin Timberlake is now considered as an icon in pop music. Going solo is Justified then!