So you liked part one, huh? I can’t guarantee part two will be quite as entertaining – sadly, the curly blond fro has come and gone, so it’s a little harder to make fun of him, but let’s continue our walk down memory lane and reacquaint ourselves with the unstoppable force that is solo Justin Timberlake.
But first… I cannot believe I forgot to include this in part one. The greatest Super Bowl halftime show ever, ladies and gentlemen.
So good. I hope DJ Stanley Steamer shows up to the reunion.
Anyway. Justin busted out on his own in 2002 and never (until possibly, hopefully this weekend) looked back. I was a senior in college, and JT provided the soundtrack.
Like I Love You (2002)
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve spent the past eleven years dancing outside of 7-Elevens waiting for a sexy man in a leather jacket to come along and tell me that I’m a good girl and that’s what makes him trust me. Except… Justin, can we talk about your headgear in this video? There’s a knit cap, a baseball hat with a bandana underneath, and then the fedora that seemed to be his uniform for the next several years. Trying to hide the hair, are we? Don’t worry, it will be inexplicably straight in ten years. Gawd, the spoken parts of this song are so bad. But the dancing is so, so good. Also, Pharrell is awesome. I hope there’s more Pharrell on 20/20 Part Two… god knows it worked for Robin Thicke this summer.
Cry Me a River (2002)
Remember how good you thought this video was? It’s just as good as you remember. Or maybe it’s even better, because back then you were young and naïve, and now you’re old and jaded, and you realize just how much of a fuck you Britney move this was. Ok… let me calm myself and try to put into words what I love about this video: the rain, the leather jacket, the Matrix-style dancing, the smoldering, the fairy statuette, the smirk around 3:07, the “oh!” around 3:15. Justin looks like a baby in this video compared to today, but oh. my. God.
Dear Taylor Swift: that’s how you do a revenge song.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Grantland is doing a bracket to choose the Best Song of the Millennium. Guys. As of 11:43am on Friday, Cry Me a River is losing to Hot in Herre. That’s right. The Nelly song where he can’t even spell “here” correctly. THIS CANNOT HAPPEN. Go vote, my minions. Vote on every device you own.
Rock Your Body (2003)
I don’t remember anything about this video. I do remember the stupid Super Bowl halftime show, and maybe that’s why I’ve never really been a huge fan of this song. Justin appears to be inside the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball, or something, and he has a sort of goatee thing, and it’s pretty gross. Oh good, there’s more beatboxing, so I guess he didn’t forget about that after leaving NSync. I’m bored by this. I suppose that was inevitable after Cry Me a River.
This has always been one of my favorite Justin songs – especially in concert, the back-and-forth sing-along at the end is a blast – but I didn’t remember much of this video either. Justin is still in the buzzed hair phase, but thankfully the goatee experiment is over. Justin is just hanging out in a bar with Pharell in Tijuana or something, as you do, and he’s getting with every girl in the place, meaning we’re well into the JT slutty phase. Those were good times.
Apparently we are in Germany for this video, and there’s a tram of some sort for no good reason, and Justin is in a hotel. With a gun. And there’s a woman in a bra and aggressive makeup. Confession: I’ve watched this video five times in the past week and I still have no idea what’s going on. What I do know is that a) there should be less walking around and more dancing, and b) why no one has made a movie with Justin as a sexy secret agent is beyond my comprehension. This is the point where Justin first realized the power of the suit and tie, and the baggy pants and baseball hats with bandanas are long gone, packed away next to the denim suit ensemble. At some point, he starts to maybe attack and also make out with the other spy woman, and then they’re suddenly in bed together, and then he’s standing on the ledge outside his room, and there’s an explosion, and seriously, what the actual fuck is this video? No idea. But that’s apparently sexy, and we weren’t aware that it had gone away, but now it is back.
My Love (2006)
The actual song doesn’t start until over a minute into the video, because this is also when Justin decided he could make songs seven minutes long and we’d still listen to them. Thankfully, we get a lot of Justin dancing here, though not enough to make up for the lack of it in SexyBack. Justin’s got his black and white thing going on – which he’ll bring back big time with 20/20 Part One – but aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to this video. These are getting harder to be snarky about. Let’s take a detour for a moment…
Dick in a Box (2006)
This will never, ever get old.
What Goes Around… Comes Around (2006)
Apparently this video was a short film or something, co-starring Scarlett Johansson. There is playful flirting, and then sexytime between JT and ScarJo, and then there is a pool and ScarJo is apparently drowning? Wait, no she’s not, she was just tricking Justin, but he doesn’t realize it until he jumps in after her and now they’re making out in the pool and dammit, ScarJo, I hate you. Then ScarJo is hanging out in a club with JT and his friend who I’m fairly certain she’ll sleep with eventually. There are also circus performers and fire twirlers and of course JT asking his friend to “keep an eye on her,” which means they are absolutely going to sleep together. This is all very distracting from the fact that this song is fantastic, and it’s one of my favorites, and Justin writes a damn good breakup song. Yep, there’s ScarJo and the friend making out – in a stairwell, come on guys, at least get a room – and then JT beating up the guy and not being good at dramatic acting and then ScarJo is running away and omg, just get back to the song already. They finally do, just in time for the awesome coda which I think is even better than the main part of the song itself. Then there’s a car crash, and ScarJo is dead, because what goes around comes back around, get it? And Justin sees the whole thing happen, and he has to act dramatically again, and seriously, just don’t, Justin. Do SNL and do music and concerts. No more. No less.
There’s really nothing to discuss in this video, which is sad, because it’s one of JT’s best tracks. Meh. Moving on.
Between 2007 and 2013, Justin decided to take a hiatus from music, and instead concentrated on making movies, all of which are terrible except for exactly two. The Social Network was fantastic, and I’m still bitter that The King’s Speech won Best Picture that year (over The Social Network and Inception AND Toy Story 3, all of which were far superior). The other one is Friends With Benefits, which I had pretty low expectations for but was really pleasantly surprised by, and now falls into the category of “movies I will stop to watch anytime I see them on TV.” Also, Justin did this:
Justin and Mila should date. Justin >>> Ashton and Mila >>> Jessica.
Anyway. Justin also kept himself occupied by performing the history of rap… singing in a fantastic SNL monologue… and going to the Marine Corps Ball with a very lucky lady, because he is awesome like that.
And then, finally, in 2013, the angels sang and our wishes were granted, and Justin the musician came back to us, albeit with straight hair.
Seriously, Justin. How did you do that? Because I have curly hair and I really want to know.
Suit and Tie (2013)
Not gonna say this song is amazing. Nor is the video anything earth shattering. But if you are able to watch this and not want to hang out with Justin and Jay Z in a black and white world wearing tuxedos and fancy dresses and sipping on martinis, I just don’t know how to relate to you. I don’t know how he got the straight hair. Nor do I really care. Because damn, that man can wear a suit.
Now this song… this is as good as anything he’s ever written. And I kind of love the video, even though Justin doesn’t show up until six minutes in. There’s this old couple, who apparently were extras in Grease when they were younger, and they frolic in a pool hall, and then end up as old people who move exactly the same, because they’re like each other’s mirror, get it? (Subtlety has never been Justin’s strong suit in videos.) Now the T-Bird and the Pink Lady are in a fun house, which is also in the old people’s house, so apparently they’re all in some kind of time warp, which might end up being the plot of the next American Horror Story. Occasionally, the girl is shown crying, and I’m not really sure what that’s about. Despite all of the randomness, I think it’s actually all quite beautiful and moving, and then finally Justin shows up in a hall of mirrors to dance around in a pea coat. No, really.
Take Back the Night (2013)
This song is really growing on me. I have a feeling I’m going to like 20/20 Part Two more than Part One, based on nothing more than this song and the track listing. And I like this video, because it has footage from the Legends of the Summer concert, and it makes me happy to think about that. Also, because he’s dancing and having fun, and there hasn’t been enough of that lately. Relax, Justin. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You once did this:
So there you have it – some of JT’s best moments, worst hair, and hottest dance moves. Hopefully we get a few moments on Sunday – and in the years to come – to add to these posts… but until then, just enjoy a glass of Monica & Chandler champagne with Ricky V.I.Penis. Because he knows how to treat a lady right.