Single Review: Justin Timberlake - Filthy | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Single Review: Justin Timberlake – Filthy

Justin Timberlake's new single is undeniably catchy, but weirdly far removed from his new 'man of the woods' aesthetic, reviews Rhi Storer


If you are still in a state of near-comatose from one too many tequila slammers on New Year's Eve, then consider listening to the comeback single of a certain Mr. Justin Timberlake. After announcing his forthcoming album Man Of The Woods earlier this week, the ‘SexyBack’ singer kicked off his album campaign with its lead single 'Filthy'. J.T is back in collaboration with Timberland and Danja for this number - perhaps trying to evoke the sounds off Future Sex/Love Sound.

Whoever is in charge of the marketing campaign either needs to be fired for erratic advertising or given a gold medal for trolling

Last year, everyone was singing to the relentlessly upbeat pop-funk of Timberlake's huge hit 'Can’t Stop The Feeling'. Three days ago, J.T released a teaser trailer for Man Of The Woods with Jessica Biel, promising an album that 'feels like mountains, trees, campfires, like wild west.' Whoever is in charge of the marketing campaign either needs to be fired for erratic advertising or given a gold medal for trolling, as 'Filthy' sounds nothing like a mellow, country, home-grown bop. Instead, it is a futuristic, android-charged song with an old-school funk vibe.

Except it doesn't really sound like that at the start. Beginning with guitars and rolling drums, you expect it to kick into some dark Americana swagger - but instead the song transforms into a dangerous electro-funk number. Initially I was taken aback - the wobbling bassline is completely removed from anything country or southern. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty dope. It’s lustful, and it’s the kind of song that WILL get your freak on.

Buried in the mix of the pre-chorus are some nice echoey percussion sounds, yet these are lost through a storm of robotic noises. I get that they’re meant to separate the track out, but they are jarring and badly placed throughout the song. Keeping the bass flowing with some subtle synths here and there may have played in J.T’s favour.

More concerning, however, are the lyrics. Even though J.T pays homage to Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin & Juice’ with the line 'six in the morning,' it doesn’t earn him any cool points, with some last minute - and rather embarrassing - lyrics: 'And what you gonna do with all that meat? / Cookin’ up a mean servin'.' That’s not sexy, and not because I’m a vegetarian either.

It’s catchy, that is no question. The music video is something else too. I can’t help but dancing to it. It’s obvious that J.T is channelling his inner Prince, and that is commendable. But Timberlake is no Prince: this song sounds over-produced, and along with some poorly mixed vocals, it sounds like something Prince would record severely hungover on a child’s microphone. Let’s hope that 'Filthy' is an outlier from the departure into country music J.T claimed to be working on.

'Filthy' is available to stream online now. Man Of The Woods is released February 2nd through RCA Recordings.

final year political science student


9th January 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

12th January 2018 at 9:07 am