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Justin Timberlake's comeback album 'Everything I Thought It Was' flops

Justin Timberlake has returned with the release of his new album, "Everything I Thought It Was." It is his sixth studio album and first album release since 2018. 

Timberlake's public perception has changed over the years. From the Super Bowl performance with Janet Jackson, where he exposed Jackson's breast and nearly ruined her career, to Britney Spears' memoir, Timberlake's reputation has been severely damaged. His last album "Man of the Woods" was an attempt at a comeback but ultimately failed. In 2021, he apologized to Jackson and Spears. 

"Man of the Woods" was a tribute to his family and his home state, Tennessee. "Everything I Thought It Was" is more of a homecoming in its own way, with the opening track being "Memphis." 

The track is an ode to his roots and the pressures of not letting anyone down. Lyrics like, "You're the one that's chosen to make it out / Gotta seize the moment, don't let us down," convey the feelings of leaving his upbringing behind. The song has a strong opening message for the album but lacks a good beat. The track had so much potential with the lyrics, but the beginning of the album felt dragged. 

Timberlake also revisits his *NSYNC days with the track, "Paradise (feat. *NSYNC)." The song highlights Timberlake's big break and the band's timeless splendor. 

The group is vulnerable with lyrics like, "We've been down a long, long road, now we're looking where we are / We were chasing after hopes and dreams and we're still under the stars / After all this time, I've always wondered if it would feel the same / As it did when we were young and afraid."

The track featuring *NSYNC creates a sense of nostalgia since the reunion was short-lived. It adds to the overall energy and emotional message of the album. 

"I think that's where I came up with the album title," Timberlake said in an interview with VIBE. "I was playing it for people around me. They're like, 'Oh, this sounds like everything we know you for.' And then another friend of mine was like, 'Oh, this sounds like everything I thought I wanted from you.' It was like that sort of phrase, in one way or another, was in the air."

The 18-track album is 77 minutes long and paints a picture of what appears to be the love and strength of his relationship with his wife, Jessica Biel, who has stayed married to him despite his supposed shortcomings. According to AP News, Timberlake stated that the album took four years to make and that he had written 100 songs for it. His work is evident in tracks like "Infinity Sex" and "F—— Up the Disco" because of the reminders of Timberlake's heyday, but the tracks lack impact. 

The album's lead single, "Selfish," is a mid-tempo ballad with love-themed lyrics about Timberlake's career, such as, "I want every bit of you, guess I'm selfish." While the single conveys the message Timberlake is seeking to share in the album, it is not a catchy track that would draw in fans to listen to the rest of the album. 

Alternatively, Timberlake could have used "No Angels" as a lead single because of its catchy beat and the mysterious message of an angel on the dance floor. It would have likely brought in more listeners before the album's release. 

If "Everything I Thought It Was" was a shorter album consisting of 10 songs rather than 18, it may have gained the attention of a larger audience and given Timberlake the musical comeback he needed. The album was certainly unexpected and it is not exactly the comeback album of the year. 

Timberlake received help from producers like Calvin Harris, longtime collaborator Timbaland and Danja. However, the album's attempt to return Timberlake to a peak is a flop. With the help of the outstanding producers, it would have been expected to be a complete success. 

Coupled with poor timing, the album's nostalgic messages were not enough to spark Timberlake's big return to the music industry.


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