Randall Timberlake's latest lumberjack attempt of an album, Lost Jar of Mayo in the Woods, is out and the reviews are in and they are scathing. Just hours after the coasters' release and before Timberlake is set to take the stage (and hopefully not fall, fingers crossed), reviewers and online users alike are not holding back about music's biggest misstep so far this year.
Pitchfork gave it a 3.8 out of 10 and says: "It’s remarkable how few ideas are contained within this hour-plus Blue Ridge Mountains mood board of an album. Man of the Woods is a misstep large enough to merit relitigating Justin Timberlake’s status as a pop superstar. How much of his career should we chalk up to fortune, privilege, and an essential malleability? Too much of Man of the Woods is musically and thematically shallow; at 66 minutes, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep. There’s a point midway through the album—right around the threadbare-shirt hymnal “Flannel”—where you realize “modern Americana with 808s” wasn’t just a cute tagline: That’s really the whole idea, and it quickly wears thin."
Esquire: "To say the least—and this is coming from a Justin Timberlake fan, mind you—Man of the Woods is a mess. It’s disappointing. It’s kind of embarrassing. I want to say it’s well-intentioned, but it comes across like Timberlake just didn’t read the room on this one. Specifically, “Flannel” is so poorly-timed that you can’t help but think it was intentional pandering to red states or worse. But isn’t that the most perfectly 2018 thing to happen to Justin Timberlake? Maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt and bury this album somewhere in the woods, along with this uncomfortable diversion in his career."
The Los Angeles Times: "As clever as the production can be, "Man of the Woods" contains Timberlake's least convincing singing; in song after song, there's a glazed-over quality to his vocals that defeats the idea that he's drawing from some raw-water reservoir of cherished down-home memories. And his lyrics are even worse, with flimsy clichés about country life — "Breeze Off the Pond" rhymes that phrase with "trees on the lawn" — and no shortage of condescension to those well-meaning simpletons struggling out in the heartland."
Stereogum: "With his reemergence, Timberlake has concocted a woodsy, outdoorsy image-makeover while resisting the idea that he’s made a country album. Instead, he’s gotten back together with his old collaborators and made a record almost entirely devoid of purpose or urgency. Man Of The Woods plays as an hour-long contented sigh, a born-entertainer cheeseball doing his very best to make his transition into rural-dad middle age."
Buffalo News: "The overt references to country music and Timberlake's native South feel forced and arbitrary, for the most part. It's hard to avoid the feeling that he's laying it all on a bit thick, as if he came up with the record's concept and then found it necessary to force that concept onto songs that can't support it and don’t really deserve it. It all feels just plain goofy in its worst moments, which are littered throughout the record's back half like random cattle droppings in a field."
Knox News: "It’s understandable Timberlake wants to switch up his sound: He’s a 37-year-old husband and father, so it makes sense he’d want to explore his Tennessee roots and leave sexy behind. Except, he doesn’t. He isn’t diving into Americana so much as he is dipping his toe into it. And he and his longtime producers (including Timbaland and The Neptunes) are clinging to their standby framework of synth-pop/R&B, which is watered down to make sonic space for the Americana – and sounding stale these days anyway. Ultimately, by hedging his bets, Timberlake comes up short both with the Americana and the pop."
stewie_e: "I've heard trees falling and bears shitting in the woods that sound better than this. Save your hearing and time, it's Trash. Zero stars."
Sources: Me + 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7