Justin, can you please bring sexy back?
Hello, I’m Ryan. I work a shitty day job, and in between serving yuppies caramel macchiatos and wiping smeared ketchup off plates, I daydream and fanboy over today’s musicians. I’ll probably never get to share a milkshake with Kanye West or play dress up with Lady Gaga, but I would like to be able to ask Justin Timberlake to start bringing sexy back. This column is a place for me to call out artists and spew my guts all over the interwebs.
THIS WEEK - Justin Timberlake
Ladies and gentlemen, Justin, welcome. It’s been almost a decade and (I think) long enough to be able to say that JT's debut was a pop classic without having to glow red and hide my face in the corner of my girlfriend’s bed sheets.
Propped up by The Neptunes' sublime production, Justin arrived fresh off the back of playing poster boy to pre-teen girls to evolve into a full-fledged wet dream that your mom, teacher, and girlfriend wanted to bed (sorry, mom!). If you give a shit about these things—and, let’s be honest, besides record execs and journalists in need of articles to write, who does?—the album won a Grammy.
JT oozed sex appeal in a way that I can only dream of. Forget about playing chaperone for the girl next to you at the bar, blowing the week’s paycheck to watch her down jagerbombs before disappearing off into the night leaving you cold, bitter, and $20 down. Justin could probably walk in, flash a smile, bust some of those dance moves that they teach you at boy band school, and walk home with two babes on his arm before you even had a chance to call him gay.
Since embarking on a film career, there’s been a Justin-sized hole that’s been filled by pre-pubescent jizz from kids who are still figuring out that condoms come in different flavors. So I’m writing to you, Justin. PLEASE can you start bringing sexy back?
There’s been a couple of moments over the past few years when you brought it, and I’ve compiled a sort of visual Timberlake spank-bank below.
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Look! Justin even manages to make Jimmy Fallon look cool! I mean, fuck. Imagine if it was just Fallon dancing up on that stage. CRINGE CENTURY. He’d look like the type of Dad that gets too drunk at BBQs. Y’know, the ones that are funny to laugh at but you cringe as they tell you about how, in school, they used to “have game.” But with Justin at his side, Jimmy Fallon pulls it off, while Justin plays the kid in school that y’all love to hate but secretly wish you could be. (Fuck, I wish I could dance like Justin.)
Brian McKnight & Justin Timberlake Freestyle
Shooooooweeeeeeeeeee. Listen to that voice. It’s like the angels have come down from Heaven and put themselves into the white version of Pharrell. If I were rich, I’d pay for that sort of voice to sing me lullabies on the daily. And did I mention the pants? THEY’RE MADE OF LEATHER. Jesus couldn’t even pull off leather pants, but Justin can. Go put Bieber in a pair animal rawhide pants and look how doofy he looks. JT's got SWVG.
They still play this track in the clubs and all the guys next to me still sing that line. You know, the one that goes, “It feels like something's heatin’ up, can I leave wit chu?” and they STILL go home alone. But for those five seconds, while gyrating against some sweaty chick, they still feel like they’re getting some action tonight and they LOVE it. That is the power of Timberlake. Dreams, screams, and chafing.
Lonely Island - "Motherlover"
Justin can be so thoughtful and touching sometimes, too. Take a look at the "Cry Me A River" video. BUT. He’s got the crude comedy on lockdown, too. I’ve always found it hard to understand why girls dig that kind of stuff, but somehow, I find myself digging it too when Timberlake's on the vocal.
However, as much as I’d love Justin to be my new step-dad (we could buy cool hats and he could teach me how to dance), I hope songs about fucking moms are not the last musical output from Camp Timberlake.
Justin, ain’t nobody love you like I love you. So, please come back and start making something new. Call up Pharrell and ask him to make some beats, sing a little falsetto, and release it on to the internet. Help fill the world with sexy again and teach us all that pop music can still be cool. I’ll be crying a river until you do.
P.S If you do this, maybe I can forgive you for the $5 I spent on In Time.