Earlier this week, Justin Timberlake announced the February 2 release of his first studio album in five years (though he did record a handful of tracks for the Trolls soundtrack, and the less said about those, the better). It’s titled Man of the Woods – which is definitely what we all think of when we think of Justin Timberlake – a 16-track record with production duties shared by Timbland, The Neptunes, Danja, and JT himself.
And now we have the first single and video. “Filthy” is a fairly standard bedroom banger track; uptempo but not too much, with a fair amount of whispering and moaning lyrics like “Put your filthy hands all over me.” The video – directed by Mark Romanek, the prolific and influential director of clips for Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” as well as the feature films One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go – is something else entirely. Set at an Apple-style product presentation at the “Pan-Asian Learning Conference” (a touch that seems to exist primarily so JT can surround himself with pretty Asian girls), it finds a Jobs-like Timberlake unveiling a smooth-moving robot that can do household tasks, including dancing, and, um… well, you’ll see.
I don’t think any of us anticipated the year beginning with a Timberlake video that mashes up Steve Jobs and Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted Snake” clip, but here we are.