Justin Timberlake’s first album in six years, “The 20/20 Experience,” is coming on March 19th. I told you about Timberlake’s new album last fall exclusively. Last week, he released the premiere single, “Suit and Tie,” featuring Jay Z, to some fanfare after teasing it on social media. The single is great, and so is the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KReoTOZK9W8 But after a flurry of initial interest and sales, “Suit and Tie” has struggled on all charts. It’s dropped to number 9 already on iTunes, and number 13 on amazon.com. It’s only been 10 days.
Of note: the top pop station in the US, Z-100, lists “Suit and Tie” at number 20 of its most popular records this week. And in morning drive, “Suit and Tie” is simply not in the rotation of the last 10 records played.
What does this say for “20/20”? A couple of things. First of all, “Suit and Tie” is just about ruined by Jay Z’s rap plopped into the middle of the song for no reason. Jay Z is fine if you like him, but Timberlake fans don’t want him popping up on records willy-nilly. I hope there’s a version of “Suit and Tie” without him, much like Alicia Keys released her own “Empire State of Mind” sans the entrepreneur rapper.
Second, six years may have been too long to stay away. “Suit and Tie” is behaving like a single from a ‘legacy artist’ like the Rolling Stones– and not like a contemporary artist. Timberlake is 31 years old, which is ancient in the world set up by record labels in 2013. The other Justin, who is frightful, is 18. Pop music has become the domain of prepubescents. “Suit and Tie” is already too sophisticated for the dumbed down audience of today. I hope someone’s thought about that. You think of JT as a kid, but Lady Gaga and Adele are six years younger than him.