Ever since Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton performed their instantly viral mashup of “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away” at the 2015 CMA Awards, anticipation has been high for a proper studio collaboration by the two vocalists. Finally, they’ve delivered, teaming up for “Say Something,” a new song on Timberlake’s upcoming album Man of the Woods.
A swirling mix of acoustic guitars and effects, “Say Something” finds Stapleton echoing Timberlake’s refrain of “maybe I’m looking for something I can’t have,” with the country singer’s voice piercing through the wall of sound.
Timberlake first teased the duet on Wednesday via a video snippet of the two men – Stapleton in his trademark hat and denim; Timberlake in a plaid flannel shirt – marching down a hallway while strumming their guitars. On Thursday, they unveiled the full video, a stunning one-take short film directed by Arturo Perez Jr.
Opening with Timberlake alone in a room creating beats and effects on a sampler, he straps on an acoustic guitar and ascends up an elevator, singing, “I want to get caught up in the rhythm of it, but I can’t help myself.” Stepping out, he encounters his band – and Stapleton on a nearby staircase, singing and playing.
“Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all,” Timberlake sings, as the friends emerge in a courtyard to a mass of people gathered above them, who erupt in cheers when the shoot ends.
“Holy shit – that’s one way to get a response,” says Timberlake, as Stapleton cackles.
Stapleton and Timberlake reportedly co-wrote “Say Something” with Larrance Dopson, James Fauntleroy, Floyd Nathaniel Hills and Timothy Mosley, and it’s one of 16 tracks on Man of the Woods. Timberlake’s fifth studio album, the LP is set for release on February 2nd, two days before the pop star headlines the Super Bowl LII halftime show at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Stapleton, meanwhile, is set to perform with Emmylou Harris at Sunday’s 60th Grammy Awards, and has concerts booked through the summer, including a number of festival appearances. He and Timberlake last sang together onstage at the 2017 Pilgrimage Festival outside Nashville.