Justin Timberlake's departure from *NSYNC was inevitable, as he began showing signs of artistic independence on their final album—Celebrity. The singer officially broke out on his own with 2002's Justified, but it was his sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds that confirmed he had the confidence to take on solo stardom. With the help of musical genius Timbaland, Timberlake was able to master his signature blue-eyed soul sound, which was flecked with inspirations from Prince, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and more.
With its eclectic mix of genres and themes of sensuality and romance, FS/LS remains a classic. So in honor of its anniversary, let's get into our personal rankings of every song on the album!
Whenever will.i.am hops on a track, the result is usually cringeworthy. There's no excuse for the cheesiest line on the album: "Don't need no Maybelline, 'cuz you a beauty queen. Don't need no L'Oréal, 'cuz bitch you're bad as hell." "Damn Girl" is one of the two songs not produced by Timbaland, and his prescence is missed. Rating: 4/10
Okay, there's nothing really wrong with "Pose." But there is a reason why it's a bonus track. JT sounds just as suave as some of the tunes on the album and Snoop Dogg's cameo is fun, but its repetitive production (blame the Jawbreakers once again) makes it forgettable. Rating: 5/10
JT was inspired to record this song after a watching a documentary about crystal meth, which was an unexpected diversion in an album that's packed with sex-driven songs. The meaning behind "Losing My Way" is commendable, but it doesn't make sense among the rest of the LP. And the inclusion of the gospel choir at the end is just way too predictable. Rating: 5.5/10
The singer completely threw away any remains of his cutesy boy band image with this slick medley. "Sexy Ladies," the first half, draws inspiration from Minneapolis funk and has a sex appeal that would make Prince nod in approval. Once its minimal but alluring production slows down, the second half ("Let Me Talk To You") kicks up the energy with its jangly bells. Rating: 6/10
I've never been a fan of slow piano ballads, which is why "(Another Song) All Over Again" isn't ranked higher. But I appreciate JT paying homage to soul singers, and you can't deny his beautiful falsetto that runs throughout the pleading love song. Rating: 6.5/10
The production behind "Summer Love" is one of my favorites on the album, because it sounds like a twisted vampire/horror theme played backwards on loop. It is one of the few dark moments on the LP, but it is balanced by JT's sticky-sweet harmonies, the pounding handclaps and lyrics about falling in lust. The "Set the Mood" prelude is a sparkling ballad that counteracts the craziness that came before it. Rating: 7/10
While the phrase "I'm bringing sexy back" is played out (I really hope no one is saying this in 2016), the debut single off FS/LS remains timeless. "SexyBack" is frenetic mix of electronica, R&B, funk and rock. Timbaland and Danja worked their magic to create one of JT's edgiest songs to date. The wild synthesizers, his naughty distorted vocals and pulsing drums leaves you panting on the dance floor. It's no wonder it went three times Platinum and won Best Dance Recording at the 2007 Grammys. Rating: 7/10
"Chop Me Up" is a refreshing moment on FS/LS because it breaks up the ongoing funk melodies on the album. It's a dope track that was trap even before I even knew what trap was, and it always brings out my inner ratchet girl whenever that booming bass drops. "Chop Me Up" is a fun display of the singer's Southern drawl that's backed by Three 6 Mafia's wacky verses. It's a bittersweet reminder that Timberlake was once invited to the black cookout before he tweeted that problematic "All Lives Matter" bullshit. Rating: 7.5/10
This Grammy-winning track is a dizzying love song that finds JT's falsetto at its finest. The crybaby squeals reminiscent of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody," operatic samples, beatboxing and stuttering synths give a slightly manic twist to an otherwise charming marriage proposal that's topped off with a cooler-than-cool verse from T.I. Rating: 8/10
The opening track sets the steamy tone of the album, from the title to Justin's breathy whispers that will make any girl fall to her knees. The way he confidently sings "'Cause all I need is a moment alone / To give you my tongue / And put you out of control / And after you let it in / We'll be skin to skin / It's just so natural" surely raised a few curious eyebrows (and dropped many panties). Rating: 8.5/10
"LoveStoned" is yet another Grammy winner off the album, thanks to its thrilling upbeat dance vibes. Timbaland propelled disco and funk into the future for this one, and Justin flexes his "come hither" charm with sexual innuendos. The transition in between the songs is also the most flawless on the LP, where it leaves the gritty bass behind and goes into a soothing guitar melody. Rating: 9/10
Justin Timberlake has yet to make a ballad that is as perfect as "Until the End of Time." It is a lush slow jam that proves the singer isn't faking it when he says he loves R&B. The appreciation runs through the song, which is elevated by his passionate vocals, shimmering strings, the heartbeating drums and that killer falsetto. The re-release that featured Beyoncé the following year made it even better. Rating: 10/10
"What Goes Around..." is a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad that maintains its raw edge with its theme of grimy betrayal. It's undoubtedly "Cry Me A River" pt. 2. But instead of harping on one of his exes, JT drew inspiration from Trace Ayala's (his best friend) relationship. The result is stunning portrayal of what happens when one gets a bit too spiteful. And once the haunting "...Comes Around" outro begins, there is barely a drop of sympathy left. The single went on to rightfully win the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Rating: 10/10
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