It's been more than six years since Justin Timberlake has released an album, and while JT's appeared on numerous tracks since 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds, the actor/entrepreneur/once-and-future singer sent his comeback missive out to the world Sunday night, grabbing Timbaland and Jay-Z to assist on the soul-pop track "Suit & Tie."
Over a martial beat, horn blasts and submarine-worthy bleeps, Timberlake conjures up fellow troubadours Robin Thicke and Raphael Saadiq; artists who straddle the line between smooth, slick Saturday night funk-pop and Bar Mitzvah singer mainstays. It's a breezy track that may not inspire the same dance floor devotion as "SexyBack," but can finally be the link between you and your parents' music collections.
Timberlake has clearly spent the past six years working feverishly on his lyrics, crooning, "Stop/Let me get a look at it/So thick/Now I know why they called it a fatty." Hov, for his part, stays true to the song's title, rhyming that it's time for "tuxedos for no reason" and name-dropping designer Alexander Wang for the 0.01% of us who can afford tuxedos for no reason.
But "Suit & Tie" seems to be only the opening salvo in a full-fledged Timberlake musical takeover. The singer penned an open letter to fans on his website, announcing the release of new album The 20/20 Experience and revealing that he's been recording since last summer:
"Back in June of last year, I quietly started working on what is now, my next journey with that thing I love called MUSIC," wrote Timberlake. "The inspiration for this really came out of the blue and to be honest, I didn't expect anything out of it. I just went into the studio and started playing around with some sounds and songs. It was probably the best time I've had in my career... Just creating with no rules and/or end goal in mind and really enjoying the process.
"What I came up with is something I couldn't be more excited about! It is full of inspiration that I grew up listening to and some newfound muses that I've discovered along the way."
Last week, Timberlake posted a note to his Twitter account simply stating "Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:01 am PST...". After widespread speculation, the countdown turned out to be...another countdown to "Suit & Tie" which was conspicuously released more than an hour before its scheduled midnight time.
Billboard reported last week that a new album will be released this year produced entirely by Timbaland, but a release date has yet to be announced. Still, at least part of JT just can't let go of 2006-era Justin: the singer took to Twitter to encourage fans to listen to the song on the new MySpace.