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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE - FUTURESEX/LOVESOUNDS - SONY/BMG
Record Rating: ***

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE - FUTURESEX/LOVESOUNDS After stepping away from boy band NSync and his highly publicized break-up from pop princess Britney Spears, Timberlake could be forgiven for privately licking his wounds. Instead, he poured his heartbreak into his first CD Justified in 2002. It sold seven million copies, took him to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic, and come Grammy night, he picked up two awards at the 2004 ceremony. With it’s follow up ~ Future Sex/Love Sounds ~ he’s out to prove to the world that he’s not a fake, plastic, manufactured music idol, but rightfully the future of pop music. Vocally, the Tennessee native tries to sounds more than ever like his idol Michael Jackson, most noticeably on the pulsating, first single, the frenetic Timbaland-produced SexyBack. An edgier record, ten of the disc's twelve tracks are worked on by hip producer Timbaland, making them a remarkably cohesive slice of club-friendly R&B. It's clear that the smooth, falsetto prone Timberlake’s primary goal is merely to seduce his already enraptured female fans with sexy mid-tempo tracks like the Cry Me A River reminiscent jam What Goes Around…Comes Around, the funky, synthesizer-led My Love, and the X-rated Until The End Of Time. But the real payoff arrives when he teams with legendary producer Rick Rubin on the heartfelt ballad (Another Song) All Over Again, where he sounds like he's being brought to his knees by the threat of his woman leaving. Overall, this is probably his strongest effort yet, but he still suffers from a lack of really memorable material (most of the tracks are fillers) and a tendency to oversing. Because of these two things, Future Sex/Love Sounds is more mood music than anything else. Timberlake almost makes the transition from a cute teenybopper to bona fide mature musician, but he’s not quite there yet.

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