Chances are, Justin Timberlake’s latest album, “Man Of The Woods,” would have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 had he not performed the halftime show at Super Bowl LII. But the world’s biggest stage didn’t cause the fanfare it should have.
Typically, artists who perform during at the Super Bowl see album sales skyrocket. Reports have surfaced that Carrie Underwood and Pink saw a larger jump in their music sales than Timberlake.
I watched Timberlake’s Super Bowl performance. I don’t believe it was anywhere near what he is capable. He’s a charismatic performer, with amazing talent. But his halftime show was “OK” to me.
“Man Of The Woods” sold 293,000 equivalent units, which incorporates actual sales and digital track sales/streaming activity.
To put that in perspective, Timberlake moved almost 1 million copies of “The 20/20 Experience” the first week after its release in 2013.
His first two solo albums also fared well in their first week: “Future Sex/Love Sounds” (684,000) in 2006 and “Justified” (439,000) in 2002.
In his defense, overall album sales are not what they once were. I blame that on the digital age and the fact that younger listeners are more motivated to download a single vs. a full-length album. Taylor Swift, Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Drake and Pink have been exceptions to the trend, though.
Another reason may be he’s 38-years-old. We may not want to believe that’s a factor, but in reality, it is.
Knowing that, is “Man Of The Woods” any good? I’m on the fence. Unlike his previous albums, this one took me a few more listens before I got it. He decided to show a little more of his Tennessean side — sort of (insert harmonica reference here).
The debut single, “Filthy,” is anything but Tennessean. It’s typical Timberlake fodder. “Filthy” debuted at No. 9 on the Hot 100 and already is falling down the chart. This is unusual for Timberlake. Keep in mind, it had little airplay.
The second single, “Supplies,” didn’t crack the Top 40.
The rest of the album, produced by Timbaland, Danja and Pharrell, is mixed-bag, style-wise, with no true theme, unless you go by Timberlake’s own take on the album — marriage, intimacy and manhood.
“Flannel” lacks the intimacy we’ve heard on ballads like “Future Sex/Love Sounds.” “Sauce” is a guitar-driven, bass-infused track worthy of becoming a single.
“Breeze Off The Pond,” “Livin’ Off The Land” and “Higher Higher” all seem overproduced.
“Morning Light” pairs Timberlake with Alicia Keys. It’s a highlight, for sure. However, the best track, “Say Something,” reunites Timberlake with Chris Stapleton, and is outstanding.
It’s currently No. 17 on the Hot 100 after debuting at No. 9. The duo collaborated on Timberlake’s 2014 hit, “Drink You Away.”
— David T. Farr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can find The Farr Side on Facebook.