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Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z

"Suit & Tie"

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
18
January 14, 2013

Among other virtues, Justin Timberlake's first new single in six years is utilitarian: a gift to the world's wedding DJs. It's a 21st century "Puttin' on the Ritz," an ode to dressing to the nines and going dancing that will be soundtracking nuptials, proms, and other formal-wear occasions for the foreseeable future. It sounds the part. Co-produced by Timberlake's longtime maestro Timbaland, "Suit & Tie" is natty – as expertly tailored and crisply pressed as a high-end tux. It opens with a fake-out – Timberlake drawling "I be on my suit and tie shit," over a woozy, downtempo synths – before segueing into the song-proper: an airy, swinging groove, with tinkling harps, finger-snap percussion, and tooting brass. There are traces of R. Kelly's Chicago-stepping songs, Robin Thicke's neo-Seventies soul, and, of course, the beatific Michael Jackson of "Rock with You." But there's no mistaking the JT touch – the confident suavity, and a falsetto as plush and pliable as anyone's. Jay-Z's rap sounds phoned-in, but he drops a bunch of fashion brand names (Tom Ford, All Saints, Alexander Wang) and that does the trick.

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