SALT LAKE CITY — Hold onto your beats, America: Justin Timberlake is back.
Just days after the pop singer announced he’s returning to the music scene with a new album, Timberlake unveiled his first single “Filthy,” along with a music video, on Friday.
Is it clean?
Timberlake, who has had such poppy family-friendly hits like “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” but also more racy tunes like “Bringing Sexy Back,” here presents a catchy song that runs on the less clean side of his catalog.
USA Today called the new song “risky” and “risqué.” And Timberlake himself admits the song isn’t meant to be clean within the lyrics of “Filthy”
“Go on and put your filthy hands all over me / No, this ain't the clean version,” he sings.
What’s the music video like?
The video shows Timberlake pretending to be a Steve Jobs-esque tech mogul, showing off his latest robot creation. The robot dances along to the beat.
At the 3:30 mark, the video takes a turn, as scantily clad women begin dancing with the robot.
Here’s how Rolling Stone described it:
“Working the stage Steve Jobs-style, he's met by a welcoming audience before he introduces his latest creation, a robot that follows his movements and later gets a bit frisky with the dancers that join the robot onstage. The line between inventor and his invention blurs by the clip’s end.”
Uproxx writer Philip Cosores said the song is classic clean Timberlake … until the end.
“For the Mark Romanek-directed video, Timberlake parades his dancing skill while playing a modern day inventor showing off his latest creation: a grooving robot. It’s the kind of good clean fun that Timberlake excels at, until things get a little racy by the finish.”
The song created a division among internet music listeners. Several tweeted that the song isn’t exactly the bopping fun they’d expect Timberlake to bring after his hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the “Trolls” soundtrack brought so much joy.
First I thought JT’s song new song #filthy was trash. Upon second listen I think it’s garbage.— Brant (@brantbum) January 5, 2018
Others said they enjoyed Timberlake’s new song because of its unconventional beat.
#Filthy is polarizing, unique, weird, funky, & surely gonna divide a lot of people...— Khalil (@kbyrd2) January 5, 2018
But I think I’m digging it. ♂️
Why does this matter?
The song is a change of pace from what people have come to expect from the 36-year-old pop star. As Huffington Post reported, Timberlake said in an Instagram post when he announced his new album, “Man of the Woods,” that it was inspired by his family.
“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, and it’s personal,” he said.
In fact, both Timberlake’s son Silas, 2, and wife Jessica Biel, 35, appeared in a promotional video for the album.
When does JT’s album drop?
The album drops on Feb. 2. Timberlake will perform at the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.