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Posts tagged ‘Justin Timberlake’

“What Goes Around…Comes Around,” or Justin Timberlake as Historical Revisionist

Justin Timberlake’s 2007 song “What Goes Around…Comes Around” has been thought of by many as a sequel to his 2002 break up masterwork “Cry Me a River.” Both songs feature videos in which JT suffers a wrong that can only righted through some unsavory doings. In the first video he breaks into the house of his ex and leaves behind a sex tape featuring him with his current ladylove, a woman who looks astonishingly similar to Jessica Biel. In the video, JT waits for his ex to come home, sets the tape to play in her bedroom, and stalks her from the closet while she showers. In the second video, he simply kills her. All of this is not very Suit & Tie of JT, but considering these two videos together does suggest the ways in which he was getting there. These videos demonstrate how JT has worked hard to polish and deepen his image through an active recreation of his past as something perhaps slightly less embarrassing than all that early boy band stuff. In the spirit of the song and its themes of circularity, I thought it might be interesting to think about the video for WGA…CA not as a sequel to CMAR, but rather as do over – a kind of revisionist history in which JT reimages his own past in more opulent terms as a means to craft a more expansive and broadly appealing public persona. I want to approach this by looking at the ways in which the videos recast the two protagonists: JT and the figure of his ex, reportedly modeled in the first video on JT’s real life ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears. Read more

Hail JT: A Boy Band Fanatic’s Reaction to “Suit and Tie”

Let’s get this out of the way: I love pop music. Everything about it is a “yes” to me, so fortunately the universe timed my tween years in tandem with the 1990s boy band craze. Watching MTV’s Total Request Live after school was a way to forget those awkward middle school days that were occupied by hiding Tampax in my locker.

Those years were the last real ride for MTV—as we boy band lovers knew it—and it was also when Justin Timberlake’s career was resting on the success of N’Sync. N’Sync recorded several successful songs before, for example, their hit, “Bye Bye Bye.” That music video, however, was the moment during which Timberlake ditched his oversized hoop earring, but still retained a trace of wholesomeness: he was too sexy for an afterschool glass of milk, but not quite grown up enough to serve as soundtrack for raiding the parents’ liquor cabinet. Read more