Justin Timberlake gets 'personal' in first album in five years

AFP
Wednesday, Jan 03, 2018
Photo: AFP

New York - Pop superstar Justin Timberlake on Tuesday announced his first album in nearly five years, promising more "personal" songwriting inspired by his home and family.

The 36-year-old singer and actor said that Man Of The Woods, his fifth solo studio album, will come out on February 2 - two days before he headlines entertainment during the Super Bowl, generally the most watched television event of the year in the United States.

He unveiled the album with a short video on social media that, true to the album's title, shows him walking reflectively in scenes of nature from a snowy forest to a sunny corn field.

"This album is really inspired by my son, my wife, my family, but - more so than any other album I've ever written - where I'm from," Timberlake says in the video.

"And it's personal."

Timberlake - who had a son in 2015 with his wife, actress Jessica Biel - grew up near Memphis, Tennessee, one of the capitals of blues and soul music as well as rural-rooted country.

The video features snippets of acoustic guitar, but closes with Timberlake in the studio with pop producing star Pharrell Williams.

Timberlake, one of the top-selling artists of the 21st century both as a solo artist and with boy band *NSYNC, rose to fame with an electronic pop sound before finding a new voice with R&B, notably on his 2006 album FutureSex/LoveSounds.

He has been offering hints about his upcoming album for years. In a 2016 interview with the BBC, he declined to describe it as a country album but acknowledged the influence. "I really did grow up in a place in America where I was like two hours from the country music capital of the world (Nashville), home of the blues, birthplace of American rock 'n' roll," he said.

He last released full albums in 2013, putting out The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience - 2 Of 2 in quick succession. Even without albums, he has kept putting out music, scoring a mega-hit in 2016 with Can't Stop The Feeling!, a giddy summer song that appeared in the animated film Trolls.

But he has focused increasingly on acting rather than music for several years, most recently starring as a bookish and seductive lifeguard in Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel.

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