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Justin is bringing ‘SexyBack’ with new CD

Observer Scene | Thursday, September 28, 2006

If the statement “I’m bringing sexy back” sounds at all foreign, then you have likely been living under a rock somewhere for the past few moths. In fact, the phrase has become so popular that it is likely the hundredth time you’ve heard it this week.

And music fans are glad for it, since it has been four years since their last Justin Timberlake fix. Now 25, Timberlake is back on the scene to save everyone from the presently bleak music scene and revive the sexy with his album “FutureSex / LoveSound.” Apparently, the former Mouseketeer turned N’Sync member, is now a sexy soul man.

Timberlake took his first step toward independence with the solo album “Justified.” Taking its inspiration from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, it was merely a small step toward his sexy makeover. “FutureSex / LoveSound” borrows its flamboyance from the Prince of “Purple Rain.” And in case people are still somehow confused or unclear of his sexual inspiration, Timberlake has carefully titled the first five tracks “FutureSex/ LoveSound,” “SexyBack,” “Sexy Ladies,” “My Love” and “LoveStoned.”

Feeling rather frisky – and free of his manufactured boy-band image- Timberlake wants to get a little risqué with this album. Honestly, though, how much is believable of lyrics like “Dirty babe/ You see these shackles baby I’m your slave/ I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave,” when coming from the squealing voice of an all-too-innocent JT?

Nonetheless, the album is full of quality singles. So there is really no point in choosing a favorite. All of the songs possess a certain naughty, club-like vibe that will keep a listener’s attention for the album’s entire 71 minutes. In fact, one could probably spend an entire night in the club listening and dancing to this album alone.

First, listeners should tune into quality digital get-downs like “My Love,” which is set to be the next single for release. Another good pick is “Damn Girl,” which features Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am, or even “Chop Me Up,” with rap artist T.I. But steer clear of “What Goes Around…/Comes Around,” since everyone – except Timberlake – is over his former relationship with Britney Spears. The antithesis to “Cry Me a River,” it is still another lame recollection of a former flame.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of “FutureSex / LoveSound” is that the majority of Timberlake’s vocals are electronically distorted. Although Timberlake is said to have co-written every song, hip-hop producer Timbaland is credited for producing a whopping 12 of the album’s 14 tracks. Where Timberlake brings the girlish high-pitched singing voice, Timbaland brings the hot, disco-inspired beats.

While the result is certainly worthwhile, keep in mind that very little of its innovation can actually be attributed to Timberlake himself.

This album is as much (if not more so) Timbaland’s as it is Timberlake’s.

Anyone with a decent voice could have sang the back-up vocals for these funkadelic beats, but not everyone has the pretty-boy image to back it up. So don’t be fooled by the artificial “mack-daddy” makeover – Justin Timberlake is the same nice boy that America knows and loves.

The only thing he proves with this “FutureSex / LoveSound” is his knack for collaboration. That, and the fact that Timberlake is still a heartthrob.