Drink You Away

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"Drink You Away"
Single by Justin Timberlake
from the album The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2
Released November 23, 2015 (2015-11-23)
Recorded Larrabee Studios (North Hollywood)
Length 5:31 (album version)
4:15 (radio edit)
Label RCA Nashville
  • Timbaland
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon
Justin Timberlake singles chronology
"Love Never Felt So Good"
"Drink You Away"

"Drink You Away" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Justin Timberlake for his fourth studio album, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 (2013). It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, with additional writing from James Fauntleroy. It was sent to US country radio stations on November 23, 2015 as fourth single from the album. Musically, it was defined by critics as a multi-genre including classic-rock, country-pop, gospel-blues and Memphis soul song. Lyrically, on the track, Timberlake compares love to alcoholism while making references to several alcoholic brands including Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam.

"Drink You Away" received mixed to positive response from contemporary critics, with some of them labeling the song as a highlight and one of the most impressive moments on the album. Timberlake performed the song at the 2013 American Music Awards and it was part of the set list of The 20/20 Experience World Tour (2013–15). In November 2015, the singer together with Chris Stapleton gave a rendition of track at the 2015 Country Music Association Awards; following it, "Drink You Away" sold 76,000 digital copies and debuted at number five on the US Hot Digital Songs chart. It also peaked at number 85 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.

Production and release[edit]

"Drink You Away" was written by Timberlake, Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon and James Fauntleroy. The song was produced by Timbaland, Timberlake and Harmon while Jones provided additional production. It was recorded the Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood, Los Angeles. Timberlake arranged and produced his vocals. Harmon provided keyboards for the song, while Ives played the guitar. The track was engineered by Chris Godbey and mixed by Jimmy Douglass, Godbey and Timberlake; for the process they were assisted by Alejandro Baima. The keyboards were provided by Harmon.[1] It was sent to country radio in the United States on November 23, 2015, as fourth single from the The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 (2013).[2] Regarding the single release, Sony Music Nashville executive vice president, promotion/artist development Steve Hodges stated, "we received several requests from key programmers and we decided to get them a shortened version [of 'Drink You Away'] so they didn't have to air the longer cut from the album," adding "our promotion staffs will not be actively working the single, we simply wanted to make the song easily accessible for country radio. Now they have it and can play it if they'd like" in an interview for Billboard.[3]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

A sample of "Drink You Away", a multi-genre song with pop and rock music influences. Throughout the chorus Timberlake makes references to several alcoholic beverages in the lines, "I can't drink you away. I've tried Jack, I've tried Jim...".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Drink You Away" is a song with a length of five minutes and thirty-one seconds,[4] while its radio edit lasts for four minutes and fifteen seconds.[3] Chris Bosman of the Time magazine described the track as a country-pop.[5] On the other hand, Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune thought that it is a gospel-blues song,[6] while according to The A.V. Club's Annie Zaleski it is a classic-rock "homage".[7] Kira Willis of Starpulse.com noted that "Drink You Away" is an "unabashed" Memphis soul, "steeped in a gritty country riff."[8] Its instrumentation includes organ and acoustic guitar;[9] elements of pop and rock music can be heard in the song's guitar.[10] Entertainmentwise's Amy Gravelle wrote that on the song Timberlake shows his "cowboy" and "rustic" side that reintroduces it to Timberlake's Memphis roots.[11]

Lyrically features references to several alcoholic drinks which could be seen in the lyrics, "I can't drink you away. I've tried Jack, I've tried Jim... Now, tell me baby, do they make a medicine for heartbreak."[9] Brad Stern of MTV News described it as a "plethora of alcohol references, and a whole lot of bluesy sorrow."[12] According to Stacy-Ann Ellis of Vibe magazine the song's lyrics continue the "druggy love analogy" which Timberlake started with some of the lyrical themes on The 20/20 Experience (2013) most particularly on, "Pusher Love Girl"; she noted that he is "trying to drown a bitter memory of her by opening up a bar tab and taking Tennessee whiskies to the head."[13] Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine described "Drink You Away" as "honky-tonking" on which the singer compares his love to alcoholism.[14]



Critics compared "Drink You Away" to the works of American singer, Kid Rock

HitFix's Melinda Newman gave "Drink You Away" an 'A' grade and called it "the best" and "the most captivating track" on The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, "with potential to be '2 of 2's' 'Mirrors'".[9] Similarly, Stern of MTV News thought that the song is one of the biggest surprises and one of the most impressive tracks on the album.[12] Lewis Corner of Digital Spy labeled it as a "highlight" on the album and encouraged Timberlake to further explore the "Tennessee swagger" present on the track.[15]

PopMatters' Brice Ezell called the song a "hat trick" on the album and also described it as one of its most "weirdest" and "successful" moments. According to him, the way Timberlake lists the beverages in the lyrics it's an unorthodox style for the singer and in addition it differs musically from the rest of the material on the album, however, "for whatever reason, though, it works". He also noted that the song would suit better on a Montgomery Gentry LP.[16] Kory Grow of Rolling Stone described it as a "it's a big genre-bending, feel-good sing-along that really actually does feels good."[17] Jason King for Spin called the song "organ-laced" commenting "is a surefire hit, a country twanger lifted to heaven by Timberlake’s quilted, hermetic harmonies."[18]

On the negative side, Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork Media thought that "his heartbrokenness falls flat" on the song which he further described as "plastic blues" and compared it to the works of the American country singer, Kid Rock.[19] Variety's Andrew Barker described "Drink You Away" as one of the "lows" on the album and compared it to the music of Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd.[20] Stephen Carlick of Exclaim! concluded that the track, "relies too heavily on repetition".[21]


Upon the release of The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, due to strong digital downloads, "Drink You Away" debuted at number 34 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[22] It has peaked at number 17. Following Timberlake's performance at the Country Music Association Awards, for the issue dated November 21, 2015, the sold sold 76,000 digital copies and appeared at number six on the US Hot Digital Songs chart.[23] It has since peaked at number 5. As of November 2015, the song has sold over 347,000 copies in the country.[24]

For the chart dated February 6, 2016, the song debuted at number 60 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart and climbed 38-36 on the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart. The single is his 14th entry on the latter as a solo artist.[25]

"Drink You Away" also peaked at number 85 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. Following the release of the parent album, the song sold 2,358 digital copies.[26] In South Korea, it reached number 96 on the Gaon Digital Chart.[27]

Live performances and covers[edit]

Timberlake performing "Drink You Away" during The 20/20 Experience World Tour

Timberlake performed "Drink You Away" for the first time at the 2013 American Music Awards held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles; Rolling Stone's Grow ranked the performance at number five out of 16 performances that night.[17] The song was part of the setlist of The 20/20 Experience World Tour (2013–15).[28]

Timberlake and Chris Stapleton performed the song together along with the latter's "Tennessee Whiskey" at the Country Music Association Awards on November 4, 2015.[29] Rolling Stone magazine praised it as "the best performance of the entire show",[30] while The New York Times editor Katie Rogers highlighted Timberlake's crossover appeal.[29] Entertainment Weekly declared it as one of the best performances of 2015 and wrote, "In an unapologetic display of talent, Nashville met Motown during country music’s biggest night for a hands-in-the-air, take-us-to-church mash-up that was everything you hope for from an all-star duet."[31]

American country music artist Craig Morgan has performed the song at several of his concerts.[32] David Fanning's cover of "Drink You Away" peaked at number 58 on the Country Airplay chart.[33]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2.[1]



Chart (2013–16) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[34] 85
South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)[27] 96
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[35] 9
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[36] 60
US Hot Digital Songs (Billboard)[23] 5
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 17
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[37] 36

Radio and release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States[2] November 23, 2015 Country radio RCA Nashville[3]


  1. ^ a b The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 (booklet). Justin Timberlake. New York City, NY: RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Country Future Releases". AllAccess. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Asker, Jim (November 12, 2015). "Will Country Radio Take a Taste of Justin Timberlake's 'Drink'?". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 by Justin Timberlake". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ Bosman, Chris (October 2, 2013). "Justin Timberlake Overreaches on His 20/20 Follow-Up". Time. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (September 30, 2015). "Justin Timberlake, 'The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2' review". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ Zaleski, Annie (October 1, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience—2 of 2". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ Willis, Kira (September 30, 2013). "Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2' Review: Album Of The Year?". Starpulse.com. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Newman, Melinda (September 30, 2013). "Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2': Track-by-track review". HitFix. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ Farber, Jim (September 27, 2013). "Justin Timberlake’s ‘20-20 Experience 2 of 2’: album review". Daily News. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ Gravelle, Amy (September 30, 2013). "Album Review: Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience 2 Of 2". Entertainmentwise. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Stern, Brad (October 1, 2013). "The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2: Track by Track Review... In GIFs!". MTV News. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ Ellis, Stacy-Ann (September 30, 2013). "Review: Leftovers Struggle To Hit The Spot On Justin Timberlake’s ‘The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2′". Vibe. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  14. ^ Henderson, Eric (September 28, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  15. ^ Corner, Lewis (September 30, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: 'The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2' - Album review". Digital Spy. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Ezell, Brice (September 30, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)". PopMatters. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Grow, Kory (November 25, 2013). "Rihanna to TLC: Ranking the American Music Awards Performances". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ King, Jason (September 30, 2013). "Justin Timberlake Attempts to Wow Us Again on ‘The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2′". Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  19. ^ Dombal, Ryan (October 1, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  20. ^ Barker, Andrew (October 1, 2013). "Album Review: Justin Timberlake, ‘The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2’". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  21. ^ Carlick, Stephen (September 28, 2013). "Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2". Exclaim!. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "Justin Timberlake – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Justin Timberlake. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (November 8, 2015). "Chris Stapleton Soars to No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart After CMAs". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  24. ^ Mansell, Henry (November 21, 2015). "Hip Hop Single Sales: Drake, Justin Timberlake & The Weeknd". HipHopDX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Justin Timberlake Lands First Hit on Billboard's Country Airplay Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Gaon Chart - 2013.09.29 - 2013.10.05". Gaon Chart. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Gaon Digital Chart". Gaon Chart. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  28. ^ Farber, Jim (November 7, 2013). "Concert review: Justin Timberlake kicks off '20/20 Experience' tour with flirty gig at Barclays Center". Daily News. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b Rogiers, Katie (November 5, 2015). "Justin Timberlake Shows Crossover Appeal at C.M.A. Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  30. ^ "2015 CMA Awards: 12 Best and Worst Moments". Rolling Stone. November 5, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  31. ^ "19 Best Music Performances of 2015". Entertainment Weekly. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  32. ^ Thompson, Gayle (June 21, 2014). "'Drink You Away' — Who Sings It Best?". The Boot. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  33. ^ "David Fanning - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Justin Timberlake – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Justin Timberlake. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  35. ^ "Justin Timberlake – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Justin Timberlake. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  36. ^ "Justin Timberlake – Chart history" Billboard Country Airplay for Justin Timberlake. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  37. ^ "Justin Timberlake – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Justin Timberlake. Retrieved January 26, 2016.

External links[edit]