Go ahead, you can say it. I promise I won’t gloat. Just let it roll off your tongue: “Sage, you were right.”
Everyone may be all over Justin Timberlake now, but there was a time not so long ago – an era of highlighter curls and denim tuxedos – when he was written off by most as just another Teen Beat pin-up with zero staying power. But ‘N Sync devotees? We knew. We’ve known for years.
I shamelessly love the entire cheesy late-90s pop catalog and its wacky cast of characters, but it was clear even then that Justin just had a little more going on than, say, that guy from 98 Degrees who’s not Nick, Drew, or Jeff. And because I supported and defended him even through his tragic cornrows phase, I feel I’m entitled to take a little credit for his superstardom. It’s so satisfying that the rest of world has finally caught up.
I’ve prepared a little “I Told You So” dance for the occasion.
After six years of relative radio silence, music-wise, this past month has been a veritable buffet of JRT: the Grammys, Jimmy Fallon’s Timberweek, Saturday Night Live, the Legends of the Summer tour announcement and subsequent sellout, and, of course, the release of The 20/20 Experience album itself. Backlash for backlash’s sake bores me to tears, so I turn my nose up at any self-righteous “overload” articles and celebrate the return of one of our greatest living entertainers. Give me more, Timberlake. We’ve got a long way to go to hit my saturation point.
How do I love Justin Timberlake? Let me count the ways.
He was the standout in the greatest boy band of all time:
*The opinions of this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of both editors, as Kim is a staunch Backstreet girl. We forgive her for this.*
You know how I feel about these guys. I know every B-side only released in Europe. I’ve seen every award show performance eight times over. I bought a VHS copy of the outtakes of their gig hosting a Top 40 countdown on MTV over the internet for a fee that’s now embarrassing. ‘N Sync were my guys, and they were a cohesive group. Justin’s often referred to now as the “lead singer” or “frontman” of ‘N Sync, but that’s revisionist history culled from his current success. Justin’s role was that of the flash, the cockiness, the swag, just like Chris’s was that of the class clown and Joey the flirt and JC the voice of a goddamn angel. (JC, stop producing music for other people and please come back to me.)
There was magic in seeing him live, whether he was singing the last verse of “God Must Have Spent” to a little girl in the front row, writhing on the stage during the bridge of “Gone,” or “throwing” the pyro with his own two hands. He was just as fun to watch offstage, always on for whatever camera happened to be in his face. Even eating his lunch:
From MMC to ‘N Sync, Justin grew up in front of us. Say what you will about his bravado, but the career that he’s built for himself post-child stardom is pretty damn impressive.
A nightly beatbox solo? Don’t mind if I do.
I want to go back in my TARDIS and tell this kid that someday, he’s going to tour with Jay-Z.
I’m pretty sure the FutureSex/LoveShow choreography can get you pregnant:
Those tickets should have come with complimentary birth control. This is just rude. Also, I now bitterly regret quitting dance when I was 7 and missing out on this being my job.
But he really just wants to love and marry you, girl:
“You are, you are the love of my life.” – “Mirror”
“I was ready to give you my name.” – “What Goes Around Comes Around”
“This ring here represents my heart
But there’s just one thing I need from you (sayin ‘I do.’).” – “My Love”
“Didn’t have to run, I knew it was love from a mile away.” – “Pusher Love Girl”
“But girl I’m ready to marry you
Yeah right here in the restaurant
And start on our honeymoon
While you still got your dress on.” – “Dress On”
All of Justin’s songs are pretty much about DESTROYING you on the dance floor and then making an honest woman out of you. What’s not to love about that?
He cried on Punk’d when he thought he lost his dogs:
He’s a goofball:
Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to fathom that the person who starred with Kathy Lee and Cody Gifford in the Disney Channel Original movie Model Behavior is the same person who was inducted into SNL‘s five-timers club just a few weeks ago. But man, does he ever kill it on that show. If you’ve ever seen Robert DeNiro – like, Raging goddamn Bull – struggle to read a cue card in a Gilly sketch, you know how important it is for the hosts to make it look effortless. Justin has proven that he has incredible comic instincts, and he just seems so at ease. It’s also crystal clear that he is having the time of his life, and that joy is contagious.
For whatever his trainer did to him before Friends with Benefits:
I feel like I must have done something so selfless and miraculous in a previous life to deserve the existence of this movie. You know what’s cooler than Justin Timberlake in clothes? Justin Timberlake in no clothes.
He covered Jodeci with a young Ryan Gosling:
And a lot of linen and a lot of fans. And a lot of diva hands. And it was awesome.
Justin and Britney’s tenure as prince and princess of pop had to die so that “Cry Me A River” could live. It’s the circle of life.
From all of us at Head Over Feels, welcome back, Justin. We’ve been listening to nothing but The 20/20 Experience on repeat and can’t wait to see what the second half of the album brings later this year.