To mark the release of Justin Timberlake’s Man Of The Woods, we asked five celebrated men of wood to give us their thoughts on the album.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Big fan of Justin! My favourite songs of his are Mirrors and Cry Me A River. Production-wise I thought a lot of Man Of The Woods was aiming for a ‘classic’ sound but very often it just comes off as dated. I suppose that’s when happens when you wheel out old collaborators. I think Justin probably thinks it’s really current though? I guess he still thinks he’s a Radio 1 artist when in reality he’s a Radio 2 artist. It feels like a very lazy album. I think he should work with younger, more hungry collaborators — he should branch out. And I’m not just saying that because I’m literally a branch!! I thought Higher Higher was a pretty good song but when Wave came on afterwards I started to cry, and when Supplies came on after that I had to hit skip. It’s really bad.”
The Shit-Yourself Stick Thing From The Blair Witch Project
Suggestor of impending doom
“I would definitely still bang him so there’s that. But I’m not going to take seriously any album that contains a song called Flannel. I reckon there’s a decent eight-track EP in here — Breeze Off The Pond is great, for instance, and Montana feels like a real grower. The title track is an absolute catastrophe, and I’ve seen my fair share of catastrophe over the years what with my line of work. Also I feel uncomfortable about Justin suddenly jumping on the wood bandwagon. Wood’s been around for ages and, hold on, only now is Justin showing interest? What’s that about? I just think it seems a bit opportunistic.”
The Man Off The Cuprinol Varnish Advert
“This album does exactly what it says on the Timberlake! Hang on that was Ronseal wasn’t it? I hate Ronseal. Did you know their whole operation is funded by the singer Seal and a man named Ron? Now that’s what I call a little crazy! I thought Man Of The Woods was alright actually, there’s been a lot of negativity around the campaign which seems out of proportion with how underwhelming the music has really been. Why has everyone got it in for Justin Timberlake? Has so much really changed since the last time Justin released an album?”
“Well kind of, Cuprinol Man, yes. A lot has changed. People in the media who are leading the online conversation are still querying the way Justin threw Janet under the bus after the Super Bowl. They’re questioning the tedious masculinity that surrounds so much of his earlier stuff. They’re saying, hold on, how can this guy be happy to star in a Woody Allen film, and how can he also see fit to insert himself into the #timesup conversation? And I mean I’m just a puppet who wants to one day become a real man 1 but I don’t think Justin’s really addressed all this properly. I just think people are being held to incredibly high standards now and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.”
The Wicker Man
Man of the Edward Woodward
“Can I begin by saying how grateful I am that you have included me in this article, because I know a lot of people still have a lot of issues with the whole ‘wicker or wood’ thing. So this feels like a progressive move! I agree with Pinocchio, actually. Also, I just don’t think people are particularly convinced by Justin’s commitment to what he’s doing, do you know what I mean? This echoes Stickman’s comment about it being a pretty lazy album: there’s no sense that people need this album to work. Justin’s got so many other things going on — acting, soft furnishings and so on. At this stage music just looks like a hobby. But it needs to be more than a hobby! I want artists to be prepared to die for their art. I want them to be desperate to get their message across. Is there even really message here, apart from the idea that Justin went for a walk and saw a squirrel or something? Where’s the hunger? Where’s the desire to push himself, or his collaborators? This is making me quite angry now. If I wasn’t already on fire I’d set myself on fire.”
Thanks to all our contributors!
Editor’s note: We asked Pinocchio if he would like to unpack this sentence and perhaps turn it into a joke about Justin Timberlake’s transition from boyband member to adult, but Pinocchio said no he did not want to do that.↩