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.