Justin Timberlake grabbed a permanent marker and scribbled out the official Man of the Woods tracklist in all-caps Friday. The album features collaborations with "A.K." and "C.S.," which are likely subtle ways of confirming pop-ins from Alicia Keys and Chris Stapleton. Or does "C.S." somehow mean Timberlake has bagged a C.S. Lewis feature? Who knows. 2018 means anything is possible.
For an album we didn't even know existed just days ago, Timberlake has initiated a hell of a hype campaign. In a woods-filled teaser video released earlier this week, Timberlake explained how the 16-track album differs from his previous work. "This album is really inspired by my son, my wife, my family, but more so than any other album I've ever written, where I'm from," he said. "It's personal."
Judging by the song titles and the acutely anti-woods vibes of first single "Filthy," Man of the Woods is starting to look and feel very much like a concept album. The official video for album opener "Filthy," for example, features one very impressive robot and exactly zero horses. I'm predicting we won't get horses in the Man of the Woods visuals until "Flannel." Just feels right.
All jokes aside, remember how long it took for the Timbaland-produced classic "SexyBack" to grow on you? "Filthy" and the rest of Timberlake's journey into the Woods is sounding like a similar acquired taste. Be patient.
Timberlake will presumably bring a couple Woods cuts to the mysterious competitive event known as "the Super Bowl" Feb. 4. The performance, which damn well better feature the "Filthy" robot, will be preceded by Woods' global release Feb. 2.