Justin Timberlake: New Album 'Punches You Between the Eyes' - Rolling Stone
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Justin Timberlake: New Album ‘Punches You Between the Eyes’

Pop star talks ’20/20 Experience’ follow-up, working with Pharrell, Timbaland, Max Martin

Justin Timberlake opened up about his next album in an interview with Variety, saying, “I wouldn’t say [my new material] is the antithesis of 20/20, but it does sound more singular. If 20/20 sounded like it literally surrounds your entire head, this stuff feels more like it just punches you between the eyes.” 

While Timberlake recently recorded a handful of new songs for the Trolls soundtrack, his last album was 2013’s two-part LP, The 20/20 Experience. Noting his tendency to take his time with projects, Timberlake declined to offer a timeline for the album’s arrival, saying, “I’ll put it out when it’s done – when it feels right.”

Producer Pharrell, however, noted that they had completed “a good solid six [songs] that are like, ‘Whoa, what was that? Play that again.'” He went on to praise Timberlake’s ability to communicate honestly on record, saying, “If you’re able to really screenshot your own vulnerability, and frame it properly, and color-correct it, then it becomes something that every human can relate to. And I think Justin is in the place where he’s mastering that right now.”

Timberlake has not worked with Pharrell on an LP since his solo debut, Justified, on which the hitmaker produced several songs as part of the Neptunes. Timberlake’s forthcoming LP will also feature longtime collaborator Timbaland, as well as Max Martin, whom the pop star hasn’t worked with since his ‘N Sync days and recently reunited with for the Trolls hit, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

Of the three, Timberlake said, “Tim is a sound junkie, the same way Pharrell is a song junkie. And then Max is like music’s Morpheus.”

Martin, the typically reclusive Swedish pop juggernaut, even offered a few remarks about working with Timberlake, noting the singer’s talent and star power was apparent even in the Nineties. Speaking about “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” the producer – who’s co-written 22 Number One singles – admitted, “The lyric was the hardest part, to capture the vibe of the scene, the characters, and the movie overall, but still making it a relevant pop song. I personally am always nervous and paranoid before a song comes out – if it’s going to work or not. In this case, I felt I was alone in feeling this way.”

In This Article: Justin Timberlake, Pharrell


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