It’s a weird time to be Justin Timberlake. His just-released album, Man of the Woods, hit number one, and he played music’s most coveted gig at the Super Bowl – without incident, this time. He’s about to go on what will no doubt be a highly successful arena tour.
But a very vocal online contingent has simply had enough of him: they mocked every second of his album roll-out, beginning with its trailer, which raised accusations of “pivoting to whiteness”; they questioned his professed commitment to women’s rights in the face of his very recent starring role in a Woody Allen movie; they feel that he failed to take much responsibility for his 2004 Super Bowl debacle with Janet Jackson; and they’re not crazy about his fashion sense, either.
In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Staff Writer Brittany Spanos and Contributing Editor Rob Sheffield join Senior Writer and host Brian Hiatt to discuss all things Timberlake. To hear the entire discussion, press play above or download and subscribe to Rolling Stone Music Now on iTunes or Spotify.
In the episode, our panelists ponder if, like his pal Jimmy Fallon, Justin just isn’t made for these politically charged times – and whether the same charming blitheness that aided his ceaseless success is now working against him. Along the way, Hiatt attempts to defend “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” which Sheffield calls “bland and manipulative and cynical,” while Spanos argues that it “sounds like someone sped up ‘Happy’ and threw it in a trash can.”
Justin Timberlake led the halftime show at Superbowl 52. Watch highlights below.