Monday, July 22, 2024

Justin Timberlake Has A SECOND Album Ready for Fall, But His Faux Soul Sparks Debate


So: Justin Timberlake has 1o more songs, a “20/20 Experience, Pt. 2,” ready for fall release. On a web forum, Questlove of the Roots made the announcement today in response to criticism that’s come up about Timberlake’s “faux soul.” Indeed, this whole marketing scheme of Timberlake’s for “The 20/20 Experience” is a mixed cultural reference. He either sees himself as a Rat Packer– Dean Martin?– singing 70s soul with a 16 piece band. Or, I don’t know what. Because no soul singer, not even Marvin Gaye, or Jackie Wilson, performed like this. Maybe Nat King Cole, who was dead before the 70s soul revival.

The hit single from “20/20” is “Suit and Tie.” It’s largely sampled and reworked from a 70s track by a group called Sly, Slick and Wicked. The record was called “Sho Nuff.” Here’s a weird story. There were two Sly, Slick and Wicked groups. One was from Los Angeles, the other from Cleveland. The LA group was first. The Cleveland group came after them, and had the hits like “Sho Nuff.” The Cleveland group actually sued the LA group over the name and lost. Still, they have to be paid for the “Sho Nuff” sample, which now called an “interpolation”– haha–Timberlake and co. just rewrote the song. Nevertheless, good job.

This whole excavation and archeology project of ripping off obscure songs started more than 25 years ago. At first it was called sampling. Now, as the songs have become whole “tributes” to a sound, it’s “interpolation.” Alicia Keys has been in the forefront of this, which always surprised me since she was capable of writing new songs. This past year Bruno Mars made a whole “tribute” to Sting and the Police from his “Locked Out of Heaven.” Some people may actually call these things “rip off.” Even John Legend did it, renaming the 60s hit “Spooky” by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV as his “Save Time.”

“The 20/20 Experience” is clearly a tribute to Philly Soul, Gamble and Huff. And it has tons more “interpolations” and samples than just “Suit and Tie.” We can only guess how many more will be lodged in Part Deux.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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