The Rundown: The Best Of Justin Timberlake

The Rundown: The Best Of Justin Timberlake

Given that he’s already released the song of the summer even though we still haven’t reached May 2-4 weekend, it only seemed fitting to flip back through Justin Timberlake’s catalogue and spotlight some of the essentials you’ll need when putting together a JT playlist to pump from now until September.

While this list will focus exclusively on his solo efforts – or at least tracks where he’s the lead artists – you can bulk out your “Best of Justin Timberlake” compilation with some of his choice collaborations, like: “Signs” – Snoop Dogg ft. Justin Timberlake from Rhythm & Gangsta, “Give It To Me” – Timbaland ft. Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado from Shock Value, “Dead and Gone” – T.I. ft. Justin Timberlake from Paper Trail, “ Love Sex Magic” – Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake from Fantasy Ride, “Holy Grail” – Jay-Z ft. Justin Timberlake from Magna Carta Holy Grail.

But in terms of his own stuff, here’s the best of the best, in chronological order.

“Gone” (Celebrity, 2001)

“Wait – I thought you said this was a list of his solo work? “Gone” is a song by NSync!”

Is it though? Technically, sure, but JC, Lance, Joey and Chris are literally just back-up singers on the track, while Justin drops a pained solo performance about a relationship that has ended. It’s also a departure from anything the boy band had done before and much more akin to what we’d come to get from JT the solo artist, it counts.

“Like I Love You” (Justified, 2003)

When he debuted the track at the MTV Music Awards, you knew his days in NSync were over and that a generational solo talent was emerging. No – that’s not overstating it.

This track catapulted Timberlake from “most talented member of a boy band” to “this dude might become the best performer in the game” territory in an instant as he cruised over the Neptunes track, showcasing all the elements that have come to become Timberlake signatures.

“Cry Me a River” (Justified)

Dear Britney,
Thanks for cheating on Justin and hurting him because it became the basis for a terrific song and somewhat creepy video.
All of Us

“Rock Your Body” (Justified)

The third single from his debut solo album, “Rock Your Body” has aged well and become the precursor to the various funky joints Timberlake has produced since.

It’s a fun little sing-along song and the track that ended up causing all kinds of trouble at the Super Bowl (Nipplegate!), plus “I’ma have you naked by the end of this song” is a great line.

“Senorita” (Justified)

Consider this your first glimpse of the Timberlake that would go full band leader on The 20/20 Experience more than a decade later. Rolling with The Neptunes, they strip things down and JT croons on this falsetto-rich bit of fun that features a great call-to-action piece in the middle.

If “Like I Love You” was the “this kid is going to be a superstar” moment, this was the track that also made it clear that Timberlake would still be confident enough to colour outside the lines a little, especially when he’s working with collaborators he has the utmost confidence in, like he did with Pharrell and Chad Hugo on his first album.

“SexyBack” (FutureSex/LoveSounds, 2006)

After a three-year hiatus, JT returned and dropped this neutron bomb on the world – an off-kilter, not quite sure what to think about it the first time you hear it joint that ended up becoming an ear worm you didn’t want to get rid of for months.

This was also the song that took Timberlake from boy genius to grown-ass man that was kicking ass and taking names in the music industry. The instant success of this song and the album as a whole gave him the swagger needed to drop lines line “We missed you on charts last week/Oh, that’s right, you wasn’t there” on “Give It To Me” with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado a year later.

“My Love” (FutureSex/LoveSounds)

In the wrong hands, a track like this with it’s staccato beat and synth-heavy sound would be a dumpster fire. With Timberlake on the track, it’s perfection because he’s got the chops to dance around the beat and the rhythm to knock out a smooth dance routine in the video.

And the addition of T.I. is brilliant because TIP has the exact right cocky/smooth balance needed for the guest verse on this song. He’s mellow enough to slip right in and drop a terrific set of bars without feeling out of place and altering the balance of the song.

“What Goes Around… Comes Around” (FutureSex/LoveSounds)

Timberlake does “How’s that break-up working for you now?” better than most, maybe anyone and he does it before romantic karma has come to kick said cheating lover’s ass, which makes it even better.

This is such a sexy song – the Arabian influences, the orchestral notes, the obvious frustration he feels in the lyrics, even though he knows Ms. Thing will get hers in the end. The closing “I thought I told you” section is the embodiment of every person seeing their ex that left them for greener pastures hitting the skids when they’re over it and onto bigger and better.

“Summer Love” (FutureSex/LoveSounds)

An underrated offering from FutureSex that is a sneaky good “cruising in the car in the summer” song, this synth-heavy track is a boastful, confident Timberlake kicking lines to a potential summer fling that could maybe, possibly end up being more.

The “And tell me how they got that pretty little face on that pretty little frame” line right as the music drops out is so on-point and really, who hasn’t had that “I can’t wait to fall in love with you” feeling for someone in the past, maybe even a summer love?

“Suit & Tie” (The 20/20 Experience, 2013)

The anticipation of this album, which came out seven years after FutureSex/LoveSounds, was so much that it made it impossible for the lead single to really get a fair shake because if it wasn’t the greatest song in the history of songs, people were going to feel disappointed or underwhelmed. Now, that’s because everyone loves Timberlake and missed him and he’s got a great track record, but it’s also a tough spot to be in for any artist.

A few years removed from its release, “Suit & Tie” has aged nicely, even if Jay’s verse feels unnecessary at this point. It’s fine, it’s just that it doesn’t have to be there. This is playful JT getting ready to take on the roll as band leader with The Tennessee Kids backing him up and was a nice return to the game after he was gone for far too long.

Tags: Justin Timberlake, The Rundown

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *