I can't quit Justin Timberlake -- ever. In fact, all the blue-eyed soul brothers -- Jon B., Robin Thicke, et al -- are like my sexual napalm, if I may borrow a line from another white guy with rhythm, John Mayer. So when Timberlake announced last week that he'd be returning to music after six years of doing stuff like acting, selling decorative pillows and marrying Jessica Biel, I was beyond ready.
What is it about a white boy hitting a high falsetto that gets me so hype? I really don't know. I'm hoping it's not the alleged novelty or the cognitive social dissonance but instead the fact that classic R&B gets recognized as the universal language of "getting busy." It's like Marian Anderson singing opera and Michaela DePrince doing ballet. The desegregation of that which should be all-inclusive by definition -- art.
For about two solid weeks in college, I dated a beautiful sandy blond football player from South Florida named Stew. Like a lot of women navigating the dating world of another world, I was clueless. In the beginning, I assumed we were just friends because, um, he was white and I'd never dated a white guy before, so ipso facto we'd never date. Of course, my logic was flawed.
The first time we "kicked it" solo was in my dorm room. We'd just gone to the movies with another couple, which in my "we can't be dating" mind wasn't a date, and decided to hang out for a while longer. We sat on my extra-long twin bed listening to 112. Stew started riffing along to the interlude of "Anywhere" and. I. Died. Eleven days of equal opportunity hooking up ensued.
I even went to a “gig” him and his “band” were “playing” in a basement bar near campus.
“Oh. My. God,” my roommate whispered as the two of us tried blending in with his scene, “you're dating someone who plays the air guitar.” And with that, my new-boy butterflies flew away on the invisible notes of Stew's pretend strings.
But I will never forget that night he sang for me. It was the sexiest shit ever.
So, JT. For me, "Suit & Tie," a little taste of Timberlake's forthcoming "The 20/20 Experience," is an up-tempo reminder of those low key nights in my dorm room when laying back and listening to folks sing about love was almost just as good as actually being in love (which I wasn't yet).
Those were good times, man. Innocent times. I don't know how these young Thundercats feel about Timberlake nowadays but his music was the ultimate in the early 2000s aspirational relationship genre.
Some critics weren't at all impressed by his newest Timbaland-produced track because it wasn't groundbreaking or beat shattering, but isn't that the point? Isn't it time for some regular old music? Aren't throwbacks in? Or am I the only one thirsty for some vintage JT?