Once upon a time, Justin Timberlake was best-known for being a member of the boy band NSYNC. However, while the other members of NSYNC have faded into obscurity for the most part, he has remained a very prominent individual in the entertainment industry. For proof, look no further than the fact that Timberlake has gone from being a member of one of the best-selling boy bands to being one of the best-selling music artists in his own right. A great deal of commercial success that has been accompanied by a great deal of critical success as well.
6. Man of the Woods
Man of the Woods came out in 2018. As such, it is Timberlake’s latest release. It is interesting to note that he has stated that the album took a fair amount of influence from the place he grew up, which is notable because the state of Tennessee is the birthplace of both the blues and rock while being a center of country as well. As such, it is no wonder that Man of the Woods combines influences from pop, funk, soul, R&B, Americana, and more. On the whole, it wasn’t a bad album, as shown by how it has been certified platinum. Unfortunately, it is also worth mentioning that Man of the Woods is Timberlake’s fifth consecutive platinum album, meaning that it is going up against some serious competition.
5. Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Technically, this isn’t one of Timberlake’s studio albums. Still, the soundtrack for Trolls featured a lot of work from Timberlake. For those who are unfamiliar, Trolls was a 2016 movie based on troll dolls, which are best-known for their colorful, up-combed hair. Said toys saw an initial surge of popularity in the early 1960s. After which, they proceeded to become popular once more from the 1970s to the 1990s, with that latest decade being a particularly good time for the franchise. As such, troll dolls were well-positioned to capitalize on the nostalgia wave, meaning that a Trolls movie was perhaps no more than a matter of time. Regardless, Timberlake was one of the very well-known artists who became involved in the project. In his case, he wasn’t just the voice actor for the male lead but also one of the biggest contributors to the soundtrack. People who remember 2016 might remember “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” which was penned for the soundtrack.
4. The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2
Based on the name, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 was one part of a two-part project. It wasn’t a bad album by any reasonable standard of measurement. After all, bad albums tend not to go platinum in multiple countries. However, its status as the second part of a two-part project is very clear. Some of its songs such as “Take Back the Night” were still quite catchy. Unfortunately, most of its material wasn’t as coherent as that which was released on its immediate predecessor, which is particularly striking because it had more time in the studio. As such, this album comes in at the number four position rather than the number three position, though it is still very close in quality to its immediate predecessor.
3. The 20/20 Experience
Perhaps unsurprisingly, The 20/20 Experience itself receives the number three position on this list. Context-wise, it is interesting to note that there was a considerable gap between this album and its predecessors. This is because after Timberlake finished the world tour that was meant to support his second studio album in 2007, he took a break from music for the purpose of focusing on his acting career. His manager started prodding him about making more new music in 2010, but at the time, he was still more interested in acting than in making music. As such, it was something of a surprise to said manager when Timberlake revealed that he had been working on new music with Timbaland in the middle of 2012. By 2013, the project was ready to go. Unfortunately, one can make an argument that it was somewhat rushed, seeing as how Timberlake had just four weeks in which to finish recording the whole thing because of the need to meet the schedule for shooting Runner Runner. Perhaps because of that, The 20/20 Experience falls a bit short of its two predecessors.
There can be no doubt about the fact that Justified was one of the most important releases in Timberlake’s career. After all, plenty of one-time boy band members try to launch solo careers. However, most of them never manage to make it in spite of their relatively advantageous starting point. Meanwhile, Timberlake managed to scatter all doubts with a single album that was written and recorded within a single six-week period while NSYNC was on hiatus. Critically, Justified was well-liked, as shown by the numerous critics who commented on it being a sign of Timberlake’s maturing sound. Commercially, well, suffice to say that the album has managed to sell more than 10 million copies on a worldwide basis, which is particularly impressive because this is something that came out in 2002.
Speaking of which, a lot of artists stumble when it comes to their second album, but Timberlake wasn’t one of them. Having said that, it is important to note that his journey to creating his second album was far from being smooth, not least because he suffered from burnout in the aftermath of Justified. Timberlake was wise enough not to force the issue, not least because he knew that he wasn’t ready to release something that could compare to his first album. Instead, he went searching for inspiration, which was how he winded up acting. By the mid 2000s, he was ready to make new music again, thus resulting in a second album that has managed to sell more than 10 million copies on a worldwide basis. Thanks to that, Timberlake managed to cement his status as an international superstar with his own sound.