FUNK is BACK!
Childish Gambino started it, then Bruno Mars picked it up and did it justice, and now Justin Timberlake is riding the wave with them!
Upon first listen of Justin Timberlake’s new track “Filthy” I wasn’t really feeling it. I felt disappointed. It was the first thing I woke up to. Like a child on Christmas morning, I was expecting the greatest gift, but got left with Socks and tshirts.
But then I watched the video.
Justin Timberlake, looking like Steve Jobs, walks out to a round of applause to his “fans” per se, to show off his newest accomplishment. And to nobody’s surprise, the crowd is eating it up. They love his new dancing robot machine. A proud JT is standing on the sidelines watching his newest invention dance around and mirror Michael Jackson’s swag (we’ll get to this a little later) and then once he’s done showing off his robot, *POOF*, he disappears.
Now, again, I’m not a journalist. I’m hardly an intellectual. But there are some metaphors in the video that made me like the song a little bit more as a whole. I still wasn’t a fan of it mostly, and the reason why was just that it was kind of like SexyBack when it first came out. Just a Pop beat with repetitive lyrics. SexyBack wasn’t really supposed to be a “work of art”. It was there to serve a purpose of just being a banger, get everybody moving, and it eventually made it to that point.
But the video, long story short I think, represents how society is so zombified by tech in this world that we’re just ready for the “Next Big Thing” all the time. And we’re so blind to maybe how simple this “big thing” is. And JT, his character rather, is on the sidelines just eating it up. He has his next wave of fans for the next year that will just buy anything. Then at the end of the video, he disappears. Where to? Nobody knows, but something tells me he’s put into the woods, to learn his “roots”. Or whatever. Who knows…
This train of thought allowed me to appreciate the song a little better as a whole, accompanied with the video. But then it was time to get my headphones and dissect the instrumentals, and MY GAWD, Timbo, Danja, and JT killed the instrumentals on this track.
Now this…this was the real “Filthy” part of this song. From the intro, the song starts out bold, like you knew it was about to be high energy. It had this whole Rock “Now coming to the stage” vibe, then he instantly changes it to these calm, trancey sounding synth, and mysterious 808 pattern. It was almost like a disappointment of sorts. Like, all of this fanfare and lights and sound, and you show up with THIS? But a lot of times, we’re looking for the excitement when the genius of the track is right under your nose. If you listen to it closely, you’ll be nodding your head in no time. 8 bars after the true beat starts this NASTY ass Bass guitar comes in and just freaks it. Then you get the lead guitar putting a little country twang in there to give a little foreshadowing vibe of the “woods” part of this project. The animal adlibs along the way helps out to identify this in the track as well. And once you get every part of the song rolling, it’s a embodiment of some old funk, soul, country sounding pop. I also noticed a little Michael Jackson vibe in his tone as well. This along with the dance moves of the robot in the video, definitely lets you know that he at least slightly channeled MJ on this track.
Overall, I think it’s a sick track. The socks and tshirts that I hated so much when I first unwrapped my present on Christmas morning ended up being the best thing I could ask for. Justin never disappoints me so yeah, I’m biased. However, the weakest part of this song is the beat change-up near the end; It isn’t one of my favorites, but once they bring that “Filthy” Bass solo back into play before the outro I’m back into the trance.
I can’t wait to hear the rest of this album!
Edit: Totally forgot that Donald Glover is a part of the Funk Resurgence in Hip Hop