I’m all for men being less “manly” and us freeing ourselves of gender constraints as it relates to toughness and not being able to express worries, fears, and internal struggles out loud. More of us need help than don’t. It’s okay. We’re human.
The reviews are in on Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods and—whew!—they’re rough. Some are saying Justin, who once was on the pulse of what was sonically new and exciting, has lost a step on his fourth album. Others say it either lacks direction or its moving in an unappealing one. A few more think they were led astray, being sold a deeply personal album and instead getting something with less depth than a puddle. But I think there’s one track we can all agree on being unquestionably good: “Montana” is a pure jam.
Track 12 might be the best moment on Timberlake’s Man of the Woods album. It’s sexy, kind of dangerous. Over a galloping bassline, there’s a sleek Daft Punk-ish future disco feel with a hint of the Knight Rider intro courtesy of resurrected production duo The Neptunes swirled with Bee Gees ‘70s-smooth delivery. There’s also this gentle guitar strum that comes in every five seconds, which makes it old Western gorgeous. I imagine this playing during a scene in Tom Ford film that doesn’t exist, where a grizzled Ryan Gosling skirts off down an empty desert road in a vintage car into a burnt orange sun setting in the lavender sky—escaping a doomed world with a bronze vixen riding shotgun.
“Montana” makes me want to learn about the Northwestern state of Montana. Justin’s making it sound so fly that it’s made it on to my mental Places To Visit with Wifey list. I’ve got to figure out what secret he and John Mayer (who retreated there years ago to repair himself) know about its glory.
In some fantasy world where I help Timberlake make this album, “Montana” is the centerpiece of this MOTW concept record. The plot: A couple madly in love is exhausted with the hectic, troubled metropolis they reside in. When the two have their first child, Silas (whose name means to “Man of the Woods”), they decide—after years of fetishizing the idea of leaving it all behind—to actually make the shift to a snowy haven. Of all places, Montana is the mission. And there, ladies and gents, is my stab at fan fiction.
There’s another convo I want to have with y’all some day about the time I decided spending energy on overwhelmingly negative critiques of art is not for me and when I arrived at the intersection of It’s Wack Being Mean St. & What’s the Point? BLVD. That week was a doozy. My overall feeling nowadays is that if an artist makes something and is pleased with their product, I’m only damning it if it truly causes harm to its audience. But gone of the days of me dedicating 500 words to things I simply don’t like. This album from Justin, admittedly, is my least favorite offering from him. But even then, there’s still a goodie that I’m giving a shout out to from it.
Anyway, agree that “Montana” is flames? Think any other MOTW tracks will become hits or have moments in the sun once the pile-on is over? Time will tell.
It’s pronounced “Versachay.”
As someone who enjoys being a part of pop culture moments, it’s kind of embarrising that I haven’t seen the bulk of the Star Wars films. And with each new release, the task of seeing them all becomes more daunting. Still, peeping them all remains a goal. This trailer looks sick.
For about three collective months last year, I was in talks with Tyler, the Creator’s publicity team, wondering why he hadn’t any substantial press to promote his latest album, Flower Boy. For those that have heard it (and maybe love it as much as I do), it kind of begs for an interview with its star.
Is he depressed? Does Tyler need a hug and a girlfriend? I really wanted to talk about how he made sadness and unnerving pensiveness sound so colorful. I danced like crazy to “911 / Mr. Lonely” when he performed it at Camp Flog Gnaw in the fall.
Though his team appreciated my intrigue and the various ideas (video treatments for a documentary short, blends of illustrations and photography for artwork…), they kindly always passed. Apparently, T wanted to let the music speak for itself and opted not to go through traditional media to talk about it. Fair enough.
All of that is to say I was pleasantly surprised when this interview between Tyler and comedian Jerrod Carmichael popped up today. Clearly they’re buds. It’s an hour’s worth of free-flowing convo about just about everything I wanted to talk about. The pair nerds out on Stevie Wonder and Musiq, the creative process of Flower Boy and more. Plus, it looks good. A simple dusty field backdrop and tight camera zooms made for quality visuals. Pretty dope. I’ll catch Tyler another time. Enjoy this in the meantime.
Kinda related, mostly unrelated: At the top of 2017, I told my guy Ugi that it would be my Gambino year. Why? Because 2016 was an amazing one for Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover. He released Atlanta‘s first season, which was widely acclaimed. He put out funk-soul album Awaken, My Love!, which was as beloved as the show and spawned hit single “Redbone.” And he had his first child. That’s a well-accomplished 12 months.
In 2017 I got married, started a new job as Digital Editor at Flaunt Magazine, and set into motion some things that’ll come to be this year. A good year, for sure.
I’m looking forward to Glover’s new season of Atlanta, coming out in March. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the start of another big stretch for him.