Justified (album)

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Justified
Studio album by Justin Timberlake
Released November 4, 2002 (2002-11-04)
Recorded 2002
Genre R&B
Length 63:15
Label Jive
Producer
Justin Timberlake chronology
Justified
(2002)
FutureSex/
LoveSounds

(2006)
Singles from Justified
  1. "Like I Love You"
    Released: October 14, 2002 (2002-10-14)
  2. "Cry Me a River"
    Released: November 25, 2002 (2002-11-25)
  3. "Rock Your Body"
    Released: April 8, 2003 (2003-04-08)
  4. "Señorita"
    Released: July 8, 2003 (2003-07-08)
  5. "Still on My Brain"
    Released: July 8, 2003 (2003-07-08)[1]

Justified is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. It was released on November 4, 2002, by Jive Records. The album was written and recorded in a six-week period, during the hiatus of the singer's band 'N Sync. For the album, Timberlake tried to adopt a more mature image as an R&B artist opposed to the previous pop music recorded by the group. Most of the album was produced by The Neptunes, with additional collaborators including Brian McKnight, Scott Storch, Timbaland, and The Underdogs. The album features guest appearances by Janet Jackson and rap duo Clipse. Primarily an R&B album, Justified also contains influences of dance-pop, funk and soul music.

Justified received generally positive reviews from music critics; most of them complimented the mature progression of the singer's material, while some criticized its lyrical content. It earned Timberlake four Grammy Award nominations and won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Cry Me a River" at the 2004 accolades ceremony. Justified debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart and sold 439,000 copies in its first week. It was certified three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) denoting shipments of three million copies in the US. As of 2008, the album has sold over seven million copies worldwide.

Five singles were released from Justified. The album's lead single, "Like I Love You", peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, while two follow-up singles "Cry Me a River", and "Rock Your Body" peaked within the top-ten on the chart. "Like I Love You", "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body" peaked at number two in the United Kingdom and in the top ten in Australia, Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium. To further promote the album, Timberlake performed on several television shows and embarked on The Justified World Tour and the Justified and Stripped Tour; on the latter he was accompanied by American singer Christina Aguilera.

Background[edit]

Following the release of boy band 'N Sync's album Celebrity (2001), lead singer Justin Timberlake started working on his debut studio album during the hiatus.[2] With the album, he wanted to portray a more mature image as an R&B performer, rather than a boy band pop artist.[2] He revealed minimal information regarding the producers and artists involved with Justified during its early recording stage,[3] with his management and record label also reluctant to share any information.[3] However, MTV News reported that production duo The Neptunes were working on multiple tracks, while rapper P. Diddy and singer Mario Winans contributed to one track.[3] Other known producers involved included Mike City, Raphael Saadiq and Rodney Jerkins, though between June and July, none of the aforementioned producers had attended any studio sessions.[3] Explaining his involvement with the project, Jerkins said at the 2002 BET Awards that he "just got a call about working on the project" and that whenever Timberlake wanted his assistance, it would "be done".[3]

Brian McKnight's manager stated that his client had already recorded tracks with the singer, while rapper Nelly explained to the reporters that both him and Timberlake had discussed a collaboration effort.[3] Early in 2002, Angie Stone revealed that Timberlake "loves the Mahogany Soul album" with him further saying to her "your CD's in my car right now, you have to work on my solo project".[3] These assertions were later partially denied by a Jive spokesperson who announced that the material produced from the collaboration would not appear on the finalized record.[4] R&B singer Usher explained that both Timberlake and him were supposed to "sit down, have a meeting, talk about it, just creatively" while stating that their collaboration would produce "one of the hottest records ever placed out".[3]

Recording[edit]

We picked him up right after he checked into his hotel. We drove around in the car listening to old Earth, Wind & Fire albums, and he was totally with it. The background of those songs is the feeling we wanted to incorporate into the music. He was like, 'Nobody's ever heard anything like that before ... a white boy singing this kind of music. He didn't care what people would say.

—Chad Hugo, MTV News[5]

Justified was written and recorded in a six-week period. According to Timberlake, the "creative spurt" was reminiscent of "that period of time back in the 1960s and '70s when musicians got together and just jammed and worked out of inspiration. There was no heavy calculation or belaboring songs and mixes. Everything flowed pretty easily and naturally."[6] Recording sessions took place at various studios in the United States, including the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Manhattan Center Studios in New York City and Master Sound Recording Studios and Windmark Recording in Virginia Beach.[7]

The Neptunes told MTV News that the duo and Timberlake drove in a car listening to Earth, Wind & Fire albums for inspiration, with the background of the band's music what the production duo wanted to implement into Justified's musical content.[5] The production duo commented that despite not being content with sampling music, for inspiration, they also listened to both Off the Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982), albums by Michael Jackson.[5] Their intentions were to create music that was similar to Jackson's work without "recycling them".[5] One of the two members of The Neptunes, Chad Hugo, commented that they just wanted to re-create "that sense of those timeless, classic songs, without any of the 'bling, bling, hit me on my two-way' style of the new R&B. It has elements of the old and the new."[5] The producer further went on to say that people wanted Timberlake to be conformed to being part of boy band 'N Sync, with the former insisting that the singer is an immaculate vocalist.[5] Hugo acknowledged Timberlake's break-up with singer Britney Spears, saying that the some of the album's music could be directed towards it.[5]

Music and lyrics[edit]

A 27-second sample of "Cry Me a River", which uses beatboxing,[8] synthesizers, Arabian-inspired riffs and Gregorian chants.[9]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The opening track on Justified, "Señorita" is a Spanish oriented song that features R&B influences;[10][11] in it Timberlake sings about a girl with brown eyes.[12] "Like I Love You" is a funk influenced song consisted of live drums, tiny guitar strum accompanied with the singer's breathy tenor. According to Ben Ratliff of Rolling Stone, "it's minimalism influenced by Michael Jackson".[13] The third track on the album, "(On No) What You Got" was described by Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine as a bit racy for the audience who expected a more boy-band-oriented record.[8] Regarding the fourth song, Russell Bailie of New Zealand Herald wrote that although the album "manages to skirt teen-pop sugariness for the most part, though it does offer quality mush on numbers such as 'Take It From Here'."[14] "Cry Me a River" is a funk[15] and R&B song[16] with an instrumentation that features beatboxing,[8] synthesizers, Arabian-inspired riffs and Gregorian chants.[9] Lyrically, the song is about a brokenhearted man who moves on from his past.[17]

"Rock Your Body", incorporates tinny, "keyboard-set-to-emulate-clavichord" synthesizers of The Neptunes' late 90s productions, overlaid with "keys and a propulsive drum vamp".[18]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The sixth track, "Rock Your Body", incorporates tinny, "keyboard-set-to-emulate-clavichord" synthesizers of The Neptunes' late 90s productions, overlaid with "keys and a propulsive drum vamp".[18] The seventh track of the album is "Nothin' Else"; according to David Merryweather of Drowned in Sound is "slinky" and "smooth" song that is similar to the works of American musician Stevie Wonder.[19] Influenced by Jackson's musical style[19] and Van McCoy's 1975 single "The Hustle", "Last Night" is played with a xylophone.[8] "Still On My Brain", the ninth track on the album, is a slow jam,[8] similar to the songs performed by Timberlake's former band 'N Sync.[19] "(And She Said) Take Me Now" which features singer Janet Jackson, is a disco, '80s funk and dub song[9] that contains racy lyrics.[8] Similar to the previous song, the eleventh track of the album has racy lyrics; on it Timberlake "cockily" sings the line, "I could think of a couple positions for you".[8] "Let's Take a Ride" is the twelfth song on the album, on which, according to Uncut magazine, Timberlake "offers to deliver you from your humdrum existence".[20] The record concludes with "Never Again", a ballad, on which Timberlake becomes "downright maudlin and snippy".[21]

Singles[edit]

"Like I Love You" featuring Clipse was released as the album's lead single. It was released as a CD single on October 14, 2002 in Germany and the US.[22][23] The song was written by Justin Timberlake and The Neptunes, who also produced the track. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised its production and use of instrumentals. "Like I Love You" charted at number eleven on the US Billboard Hot 100,[24] and in the top five in the UK,[25] Denmark,[26] Netherlands and Ireland.[27][28] The song was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 45th Grammy Awards.[29] Justified's second single is "Cry Me a River", and was released through contemporary and rhythmic radio on November 24, 2002,[30][31] and as a 12" vinyl on December 23 in the US.[32] The song was written by Timberlake, Scott Storch and Timbaland and produced by the latter. "Cry Me a River" debuted at number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the issue dated December 21, 2002,[33] and eventually peaked at number three.[24] In other countries, the song achieved similar success, reaching number two in Australia and the UK,[25][34] and the top five in several other territories. "Cry Me a River" has been certified gold in Australia by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 70,000 units,[35] and certified silver in France.[36]

"Rock Your Body" was released as the album's third single, and was released on May 6, 2003 as a CD single in the US.[37] It was written by Timberlake and The Neptunes, and produced by the latter. The song topped the charts in Australia for one week,[34] became Timberlake's third single to reach number two in the UK,[25] and reached the top five in Denmark,[26] Ireland,[28] New Zealand and the US.[24][38] "Rock Your Body" was certified platinum in Australia by the ARIA.[35] It received a gold certification in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of 500,000 units.[39] "Señorita" is Justified's fourth single, released through rhythmic radio on July 8, 2003.[40] It was written by Timberlake and The Neptunes, while being produced by the latter. The song did not perform as well as Timberlake's previous three single did on charts, reaching number 27 on the Hot 100,[24] and achieving its highest peak in Australia and New Zealand, where it reached number six and four, respectively.[34][38]

Promotion[edit]

Live performances[edit]

Timberlake performed "Cry Me a River" for the first time at the 13th annual Billboard Music Awards, held on December 9, 2002, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. He was accompanied by a string section and a 20-member choir.[41] He performed "Cry Me a River" on a promotional concert held at House of Blues in West Hollywood, California on June 17, 2003.[42] On February 1, 2004, the singer performed "Rock Your Body" at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show with R&B singer Janet Jackson.[43] At the moment Timberlake sang the lyric "Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song," he ripped off part of Jackson's costume, momentarily exposing her right breast on live television.[43] Timberlake distanced himself from the controversy while Jackson faced much criticism. He later commented that "America's harsher on women...[and] unfairly harsh on ethnic people."[44] He performed "Señorita" live on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in October 2003, where he served as host and musical guest.[45]

Tour[edit]

Timberlake did a joint tour in North America with Christina Aguilera entitled the Justified and Stripped Tour, to support both Justified and Aguilera's 2002 album, Stripped.[46] Timberlake's and Aguilera's managers suggested to both singers to go on a conjoint tour. Timberlake agreed with the suggestion, saying that "It would be fun to be on tour with somebody who's that talented".[47] Timberlake's further reasoning for touring with Aguilera was due to both singers wanting to "break the mold of what people look at as teen pop and move into a different direction".[48] For the tour, Timberlake wanted to transform arenas into clubs, stating that he wants people "to feel like they're a part of the show and it's a party", remarking that anybody caught sitting down would get booted.[47] For the tour, Timberlake performed with eight dancers, a 14-piece band which included four backup singers, three horn players and a DJ.[48] The tour commenced on June 4, 2003 in Phoenix, Arizona and concluded on September 2, 2003 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The tour grossed approximately $45 million.[49]

On September 2003, McDonald's announced Timberlake as a new spokesmen for their "I'm Lovin' It" campaign. Timberlake recorded "I'm Lovin' It", to be featured in adverts for the franchise, later expanded and released as a single in December 2003. McDonald's later announced they will sponsor a tour for Timberlake, following his successful North American tour with Christina Aguilera, entitled the Justified World Tour.[50] Timberlake stated "I love what McDonald's is doing with the new 'i'm lovin' it' campaign and it's cool to be part of it [...] We share the same crowd -- people who like to have fun -- and that's what this new partnership and my European concert tour is all about." The tour began with Timberlake playing intimate gigs at clubs and theatres in the United States and Australia before expanding to arenas in Europe.[51] The tour commenced on May 7, 2003 in Sheffield, England and concluded on June 19, 2004 in Brisbane, Australia.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[52]
BBC Music favorable[17]
Robert Christgau A−[53]
Entertainment Weekly B[21]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[54]
NME 6/10[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[8]
Stylus Magazine B+[55]
The Village Voice favorable[56]

Justified received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 68, based on 14 reviews.[57] Ben Ratliff of Rolling Stone awarded the album four out of five stars, commending The Neptunes's production, and noted both "Like I Love You" and "Cry Me a River" as standout tracks.[13] Ratliff also commented that Justin Timberlake has successfully "vaulted over the canyon" to adulthood.[13] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani gave Justified three-and-a-half stars out of five, writing that Timberlake meshes with The Neptunes "so well he virtually relinquishes his personality to the super-duo—he could very well be the third member of N.E.R.D."[8] Cinquemani noted the similarities between Justified's tracks to the work of musician Michael Jackson, saying that the album should have been Jackson's tenth and final studio album, Invincible (2001).[8] In a favorable review by BBC Music's Denise Boyd, similar to previous reviewers, Boyd praises "Like I Love You", while also commending "Cry Me a River" for its lyrical content and "Rock Your Body", which he notes contains Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder influences.[17] Entertainment Weekly writer David Browne awarded Justified with a B rating.[21] Similar to Sal Cinquemani, Browne wrote how the album should have been the outcome of Jackson's tenth studio album, as "the ultramodern R&B-pop hybrid".[21] Browne described Justified as "cohesive", favoring the album to 'N Sync's previous two efforts: Celebrity (2001) and No Strings Attached (2000).[21]

The Village Voice's Christopher O'Connor commended The Neptunes' production, while praising "Like I Love You" and the Janet Jackson collaboration "(And She Said) Take Me Now", saying how the songs show that Timberlake "has the balls to pursue the A-plus list."[56] O'Connor showed ambivalence towards "Right for Me" and "Cry Me a River", noting the former as "awkward" and the latter as "a lousy Aaliyah impression."[56] Tyler Martin of Stylus Magazine gave the album a B+, commending the two opening tracks, "Señorita" and "Like I Love You", noting the two as standouts.[55] Despite this, Martin goes onto to praise "Take It from Here" and "Cry Me a River", closing the review with saying that the album doesn't maintain Timberlake's masculine persona, but still "paints a picture of a complicated young man, growing into adulthood".[55] NME's Alex Needham compares Timberlake's vocals to R&B singer Usher's, saying the latter would "have him for breakfast", and writes that Timberlake's lyrics are "soppy platitudes that may or may not be about Britney".[9] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian gave Justified two stars out of five, saying that the only noticeable tracks are "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body", noting the latter as "predictable", while criticising the album's lyrics as being "suggestive mumbling".[54] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine commented that Timberlake "shamelessly borrows from Jacko, from the Thriller-era", going on to criticize his vocals as to lack substance, with his falsetto lacking character.[52]

Accolades[edit]

Justified earned Justin Timberlake three American Music Award nominations, including Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist and Fan Choice Award.[58] Timberlake won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Album.[58] At the 45th Grammy Awards, Timberlake had one nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Like I Love You".[59] The following year, Justified earned Timberlake nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, while "Cry Me a River" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[60] Timberlake won the latter two awards.[61] At the 2003 BET Awards, he received two nominations for Best R&B Male Artist and Best New Artist.[62] Justified was listed at number 37 on The A.V. Club's Best music of the decade list.[63]

Commercial performance[edit]

Justified debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 439,000 copies in its opening week.[64] The album was expected to top the latter chart, replacing the 8 Mile soundtrack (2002).[65] Instead the soundtrack sold 507,000 copies, due to being propelled by Eminem's "Lose Yourself".[64] The following week, Justified sold 188,770 copies and fell two positions to number four.[66] In its third week, the album sold 110,000 copies and remained within the top ten on the chart.[67] The album appeared on the Billboard 200 chart for seventy-two weeks, and eventually went on to sell 3.5 million copies in the US.[68] It has been certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of four million copies.[39] Justified debuted and peaked at number two on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[69] The album charted on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 2003 year-end charts, reaching number eleven and twenty-six, respectively.[70][71]

Internationally, Justified received a similar response. In the United Kingdom, Justified debuted at number six, and eventually peaked at number one on the week of November 16, 2002, remaining atop for seven non-consecutive weeks.[72][73] The album has appeared on the chart for eighty-four weeks; it has been certified five times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 1.5 million copies.[73] In Canada, the album peaked at number three and has been certified two times platinum by Music Canada.[74] Justified debuted and peaked at number four in Denmark and the Netherlands, remaining on the charts for forty and seventy-two weeks, respectively.[75] The album peaked at number five in New Zealand for one week, appearing on the chart for thirty-six weeks, and receiving a two times platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for shipping 15,000 units.[75] Justified peaked in the top ten in Belgium, Australia and Norway.[75] The album charted within the top thirty and forty in several other countries.[75]

Track listing[edit]

Justified – Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Señorita"   Williams and Hugo 4:55
2. "Like I Love You" (featuring Clipse)
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 4:44
3. "(Oh No) What You Got"  
Timbaland 4:31
4. "Take It from Here"  
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 6:14
5. "Cry Me a River"  
Timbaland 4:48
6. "Rock Your Body"  
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 4:27
7. "Nothin' Else"  
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 4:59
8. "Last Night"  
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 4:47
9. "Still on My Brain"  
  • Thomas
  • Mason, Jr.
4:36
10. "(And She Said) Take Me Now" (featuring Janet Jackson)
  • Timberlake
  • Mosley
  • Storch
  • Timbaland
  • Storch[a]
5:31
11. "Right for Me"  
Timbaland 4:30
12. "Let's Take a Ride"  
  • Timberlake
  • Hugo
  • Williams
Williams and Hugo 4:44
13. "Never Again"  
McKnight 4:35
Total length:
63:15
Notes

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Justified adapted from Allmusic.[77]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[103] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[104] Gold 15,000x
Belgium (BEA)[105] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[106] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Germany (BVMI)[107] Platinum 300,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[108] Platinum 15,000^
Sweden (GLF)[109] Gold 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[110] Platinum 40,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[111] 6× Platinum 1,800,000^
United States (RIAA)[112] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[113] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Edition(s)
United Kingdom[114] November 4, 2002 CD RCA Standard
Canada[115] November 5, 2002 Sony
United States[116][117][118] Jive
November 19, 2002 LP
Japan[119] November 7, 2002
  • Cassette
  • CD
  • LP
Zomba
Germany[120] June 30, 2003 CD Sony

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Moss, Corey (July 23, 2002). "Justin Timberlake Working 'NSecret On Star-Packed Solo LP". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
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External links[edit]