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“Man of the Woods” Review

By: Peter Howarth

Just days before his Super Bowl LII halftime performance, Justin Timberlake dropped his fifth studio album Man of the Woods inspired by his Memphis upbringing. He says the album is named after his son Silas which means “from the forest.”

Man of the Woods tries to bridge the gap between folk and pop music, and it does so with mixed results. Oftentimes, Timberlake delves further into the pop side of the spectrum with radio-based singles such as “Filthy” and “Supplies.” Timberlake made his name by singing pop, so while this isn’t off-track for him, these songs sound more like singles than part of the rest of Man of the Woods.


The album continues to press Tennessee vibes with harmonica and fiddle-ridden “Waves” and “Man of the Woods,” with lyrics alluding to his pride in the wilderness and catching fish. Other notable tracks include “Higher Higher,” “Montana,” and duets with stars Alicia Keys and Chris Stapleton on “Morning Light” and “Say Something” respectively.


Overall, this album shows Timberlake’s age and what he’s learned during his 16 years as a solo artist. He went back to his roots and nothing on the album sounds forced. This is enlightening in a time where autotune and quantization rule the airwaves. Timberlake is no longer trying to sell an album to producers, but he’s telling his story through music. Now, this album feels four songs too long, but following a five-year hiatus in between albums, Man of the Woods is a perfectly fine comeback of sorts.


Rating: 7.5/10

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