After nearly 5 years since the critically acclaimed ‘The 20/20 Experience’ was released, Justin Timberlake endeavours to make 2018 his year through the immediate release of ‘Filthy’ soon after the New Year dropped.

Collaborating with long-time producer Timbaland, ‘Filthy’ wastes no time bringing forth the energy through the immediate use of a live band feel. If you’ve seen Justin Timberlake’s Netflix special ‘Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids’, you will feel a sense of familiarity within the opening moments of the track through an emphasis on distorted electric guitar and emphatic percussion combined with Timberlake’s intensified delivery of the lyrics ‘If you know what’s good’ which instantly brings an arena style scenery into our minds.

From here, a swift change in direction occurs as we are brought into a funk filled world surrounded by swooping electronic elements coupled with a charismatic bass line that oozes swagger. Vocally, Timberlake brings forth an enticing offering within his melodies that hasn’t really been seen since ‘SexyBack’. In ‘Filthy’, we see an overall central focus on charisma and intrigue without overcomplicating itself that ultimately draws us in with admiration.

It may be an extremely early call to make, but the video for ‘Filthy’ might just be one of the music videos of the year and we’re barely two weeks in. The video is set at a ‘Pan-Asian Deep Learning Conference’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the year 2028, whereby Timberlake has a ‘Steve Jobs’ type presence about him when presenting a new robot to the marketplace. The robot, controlled by Timberlake, is perfectly synced to the music and brilliantly rides the waves of the track, capturing each individual moment that the single produces.

In particular, from the 3-minute mark we see both Timberlake and the robot raise the stakes in the presentation. Once the robot has illuminated, the video accepts the lift in energy that ‘Filthy’ brings forth and raises the stakes through a risqué dance bracket featuring a backup dance crew.

Timberlake shows us the JT we’ve all come to know and love, full of positivity and cheekiness as he simply feeds of the energy created through the conference audience and the momentum in the robot.
‘Filthy’ sees Justin Timberlake take a big risk with an off centre pop release in this day and age, but will reap the rewards and could be seen as a game changer in the not too distant future.

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author: Chris Salce