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The Justin Timberlake Conundrum

The Justin Timberlake Conundrum

Justin Timberlake’s sixth solo album, “Everything I Thought It Was,” has been met with a rather unusual amount of critical dismissal as well as weaker than usual sales, becoming his first solo release to miss No. 1 since “Justified” in 2002. Timberlake, once the most prominent male star in American pop music, has become something of a musical afterthought in recent years.

That is connected to his musical choices, to be sure, but also to a larger social-cultural backlash in the wake of public re-evaluations of his relationship with Britney Spears, and how he navigated the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show incident that sent Janet Jackson into exile and largely left him unscathed.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about the state of Timberlake’s music career, the long stretch of time during which he left his roles in the Jackson incident and Spears relationship publicly unexamined, and what, if any, paths forward remain for him musically and beyond.


  • Steven J. Horowitz, senior music writer at Variety

  • Joshunda Sanders, an author and former columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at [email protected]. Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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