The year was 2006. It was fall. I was a 21-year-old undergrad studying journalism at the University of Rhode Island. And when I wasn’t doing all your typical college-life extracurricular activities—drinking, wiffle ball, watching/playing football, drinking again—I was filling my ears with new music. Back then, I was heavily influenced by the almighty Pitchfork and basically listened to whatever they praised.
But that September, when writer Tim Finney’s review of Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/
Fast-forward six years. Most of my holier-than-thou listening approach and hangups have all but dissolved. And there I am, diggin’ through discographies and taking in every soul and R&B record I can get my hands on, and my girlfriend asks me if I’ve ever really taken in FS/LS. Upon learning I couldn’t get into it when it dropped, she urges me to listen again and consider it in a new context. So I do. Sure enough, I find myself hearing things I didn’t before: Future funk bass lines, those sharp, pitch-perfect vocals, brilliant pop hooks, seamless production, smooth transitions, etc…
I felt like I was hearing FS/LS for the first time and consequently losing my brain over the one-two punch of “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude” and “What Goes Around…/…Comes Around Interlude”. The entire album hit my frontal lobe all at once and immediately the dopamine flowed like PBR at a hipster party. I finally got it. There I was, enjoying an album I never thought I’d have to sit through again, bobbing my head to the beats, catching the drums in my hand motions, and attempting to nail notes way outside of my grim reaper-like monotone.
It was just a few months later that rumors started spreading around the ‘net that Timberlake was finally getting back into the studio with Timbaland. The news arrived via some random-ass producer named Beanz, who supplied the collective music listening world with a mini-joygasm. (Note: Just to make it clear how amped people were to hear the news, peep the share stats on my Complex post about it.) Unfortunately, the news was squashed faster than most sites could report on it. Timberlake’s publicist came forward to extinguish our happiness with the announcement that he was working on Timmy’s Shock Value 3 and “That’s it.”
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