Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. Today, as fans are celebrating the release of his third solo album, we found it only fitting to ode the genesis of Justin Timberlake‘s solo career – ‘Justified’:
Like idol Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake rose to fame on the hems of a top-selling group that dominated hearts and charts during its tenure. But, also like Jackson, Timberlake seemed poised – even from the group’s very beginning – to eventually launch into a solo career as he was undoubtedly the fivesome’s focal point.
After two record breaking albums with group NSYNC, Timberlake shocked
absolutely no one fans with news that he would be tackling the task of crafting a release by his lonesome. Perfect timing given the height of his social profile at the time (due to breakup with beauty Britney Spears), the world was more interested than ever to hear what he had to say.
The incident would later prove to be inspiration for a number of the tracks on his debut offering christened ‘Justified’. Helmed by the day’s top urban producers Scott Storch, Timbaland, and The Neptunes (Pharrell), Timberlake crafted what some would believe to be a very risky album given his pop-dominated resume.
But, the risk paid off as soon as fans got their first listen of the album’s lead single ‘Like I Love You’…
‘Like I Love You’ ft. Clipse
Kicking off a critically-acclaimed set, the song is considered one of many standouts on the album. But, if ‘Like I Love You’ tested the waters, the Timbaland-produced follow-up single ‘Cry Me A River’ clearly made the splash. A direct jab at the demise of he and Spears’ relationship, fans were definitely abuzz at the song and accompanying visual:
‘Cry Me A River’
By the time ‘River’ rose to the top of pop and R&B charts, ‘Justified’ was a certified smash. Eventually going on to sell 7 million copies worldwide, the album cemented Timberlake’s place as a frontrunner in modern pop and justified his sexy symbol status as well.
Crossing the bridge so few teen stars successfully traipse from teenybopper into respected adult artist, tracks like ‘Senorita’ and ‘Rock Your Body’ would be the first of many tunes the ‘Take It From Here’ hitmaker would use to demonstrate his growth and the versatility of his music offerings…
‘Rock Your Body’
Indeed, the pop pin-up would be one of the genre’s few acts to successfully merge style and substance. Even a decade from its release, the crooner continues to show off that signature falsetto that has lead him to be one of music’s most sought after acts – on and off stage.
Soul Train Awards Medley
With ‘The 20/20 Experience’ lending new sights and sounds to Timberlake’s ever-impressive catalog, we can’t help but still bump ‘Justified’ – one of the decade’s most solid R&B offerings. Weigh in below and tell us what’s your favorite track from the album. Here’s ours:
‘Still On My Brain’