Did Justin Timberlake Keep You Up Last Night?
What exactly Justin Timberlake has been doing for the past ten years is a bit vague. The vagueness stems from the fact that he is/was supposed to be the pop star who survived the supernova of *NSYNC. But then he broke the pop star rules and has released only two albums in the past ten years.
And for what seemed a very long time during the past ten years, I looked at the same Us Weekly photograph of Justin and Cameron Diaz kissing on a surfboard—week after week after week.
This is known as stagnation. A literal freeze-frame. And standing water causes disease. Pop stars are only supposed to be pop stars if they keep popping.
The only musical endeavor to trickle out of Justin Timberlake in recent memory has been in the shower. Or, rather, outside of Rihanna’s trailer.
So when Justin tweeted last night that an unknown something was going to happen on “Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:01 am PST…”, the internet got its collective pajamas/panties/briefs up in a bunch. A new song! (A new song, right?) Beyoncé! (We love Beyoncé!) Jay-Z! (We still love Jay-Z, right?) Timbaland! (Just produce the song! You don’t need to sing!)
Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:01 am PST…
— Justin Timberlake(@jtimberlake) January 10, 2013
Cosmopolitan released an “article” in which they expressed/hypothesized/squealed what they hoped would be true. (None of it was true.)
What we did receive was a video announcing an announcement. The video could be considered the type of voiceover trailer reminiscent of Lady Gaga being wheeled through the corridors of a hospital. Except instead of hospital corridors, we get an MTV Cribs-style walkthrough to a recording studio. And instead of a hospital gown, we get a wrinkled button-up and a fedora.
Timberlake gave us little indication of what was coming aside from the fact that it would be music—and that creating music for him is akin to physical torture followed by love.
But: “I’m ready,” he says.
But: “You have to wait for it,” he says.
(There is teasing that is fun and there is teasing that is not.)
The tone of the clip echoes Ralph Lauren’s commentary on his own Spring 2011 runway show. Both clips were shot in black and white. Both talk about time. Both are delightfully narcissistic. (“It means more to me than anybody else in the world,” says Timberlake.)
Lauren says, “You can’t have greatness overnight and you can’t have greatness just because you snap your fingers. So when you start a collection from the beginning, it’s the most painful thing in the world because you don’t know where you’re going.”
We all know JT knows how to snap his fingers. But Ralph Lauren is correct—the most painful thing is that we don’t know where we are going.