FutureSex / LoveSounds - Justin Timberlake
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Even the lesser efforts are superior to typical chart fare.
  2. While it’s nowhere near Thriller or Purple Rain, it does manage a healthy attempt at a reinterpretation of both.
  3. It is this excess of ambition over achievement, as opposed to any real consistency, which makes FutureSex/LoveSounds more of an album than Justified was. Songs which sound puzzlingly self-indulgent in isolation-- most obviously, the smirking, tenuously tuneful first single "SexyBack"-- are cloaked in a compelling intensity and purposefulness when played in succession.
  4. There's going to be a coronation very soon, and anyone who cares to invest will be handsomely rewarded by the future king.
  5. Timberlake's second solo record is dark and dirty to begin and smooth and sexy to finish. With only a few awkward cameo tracks to damage its reputation, this is going to be the soundtrack of the next few months.
  6. It's a lot like Justified in that it's a solid collection of expertly produced pop songs whose flaws will be devoured by its almost guaranteed string of hits.
  7. Graceless he may be, but Timberlake is nevertheless kind of fascinating on FutureSex/LoveSounds since his fuses a clear musical vision -- misguided, yes, but clear all the same -- with a hammyness that only a child entertainer turned omnipresent 21st century celebrity can be.
  8. By its closer... FutureSex/LoveSounds feels like an entirely different and far less interesting album than the one you started listening to.
  9. The Sexyback single makes wise use of filtered vocals to artificially deepen his tone and support his macho pose, but only so much can be done with studio gimmicry. He's soon back to tweeting his game in a prepubescent chirp; the more suggestive his come-ons, the funnier it gets.
  10. No dispute: Usher, Beyonce, Christina, Britney were just keeping the seat warm: The King’s back on his throne.
  11. The enjoyable, forgettable FutureSex/LoveSounds may be a just-okay Timberlake album, but it's a great Timbaland demo reel.
  12. FutureSex/LoveSounds isn't nearly as good as its slinky predecessor.
  13. No modern-day male artist beats him when it comes to single-minded self assurance or suavity.
  14. Although the mix of dance beats, pounding basslines and palatable vocals is occasionally marred by mundane R&B tracks like "Until the End of Time," there are far more pop gems than slow jams.
  15. How well do Mr. Timberlake and Timbaland work together? So well that they can make even the world’s most irritating percussion instrument, the human beatbox, sound pretty good.
  16. If he hasn’t yet invented a persona intriguing enough to live up to his music, give him credit for being one of the few white men still brave enough to make black music.
  17. While FutureSex/LoveSounds is not a masterpiece, it’s damn good.
  18. "FutureSex/LoveSounds" isn't an easy listen at first. Its crazy layers meld together into a sticky bit of a mess, and the lyrics are mostly standard love stuff. But repeated listening helps the tunes unravel. [11 Sep 2006]
  19. Whereas his 2002 solo debut shot a glance back to Michael Jackson's 'Off The Wall', this is more indebted to 'Smooth Criminal', early '80s Prince and on its ballads, Stevie Wonder. [9 Sep 2006, p.37]
  20. 80
    The vibe is all infectious, feverish build-up. [Nov 2006, p.155]
  21. Although his best new tracks are thrilling... some of the up-tempo stuff flirts with mechanical muscle-flexing. [21 Sep 2006, p.86]
  22. 60
    Only problem is, he also wants us to love him for his mind, so he has declared this a concept album. [Nov 2006, p.116]
  23. 60
    Laudable, but overreaching. [Nov 2006, p.130]
  24. A set of forward-thinking pop reminiscent of Sign O' The Times-era Prince. [Oct 2006, p.115]
  25. 40
    Timberlake and Timbaland... write frustratingly awkward songs. [Oct 2006, p.142]
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 258 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 99 out of 127
  2. Negative: 23 out of 127
  1. Jun 12, 2011
    8
    Absolutely not my style at first but this album is flawless. Justin Timberlake proves he's one of the best nowadays. I literally can't wait for the next album, it's gonna be hot. Full Review »
  2. Nov 14, 2013
    8
    Future sounding indeed. This album has it all; a mixture of sex appeal, dance beats, forward thinking beats and hooks. Download: SexyBack, LoveStoned, My Love. Full Review »
  3. Apr 9, 2013
    7
    I get the appeal to people outside of the general "pop audience", but I wouldn't consider it the revolutionary pop masterwork some claim it is. There are certainly a few great tracks (particularly What Goes Around Comes Around, the title track, My Love & Until the End of Time), and the production & vocals for the most part are solid all the way through, but the main problem for me is the lyrics. Maybe I just have a bias when it comes to sex-based lyrics but I just felt kinda uncomfortable listening to some of the lines on these songs. The whole thing just has a somewhat dated & cheesy mid-00s sound to it, back when slow jams & smooth sex songs were a pop mainstay. Plus the songs tended to drag out sometimes, and there's a few tracks I would've gotten rid of entirely (namely Damn Girl, Chop Me Up & Sexy Ladies) to make for a more concise listen. There are some albums that can get away with being over an hour long. This is not one of them. Still, despite these gripes, the songwriting (melodically & instrumentally) succeeds most of the time, and you can definitely tell there was more effort & ambition put into this than the average pop album at the time. And Timberlake is definitely one of the more talented mainstream pop artists of the last decade or so. My favorite song on the album is either the masterfully crafted pop ballad What Goes Around Comes Around or the gospel-tinged Losing My Way, which detours from other subject matter here to paint a vivid picture of a man going through self-destroying drug addictions & is an overall fantastic listen. FutureSex/LoveSounds is a shaky mixed-bag of an album but a pretty enjoyable one nonetheless. As for The 20/20 Experience I have a feeling, judging from what I've heard, that I'll enjoy it a lot more than this one. 72/100 Full Review »