Back in March, Justin Timberlake put a picture on Instagram of him in the studio with Pharrell, which got the wheels turning on rumors of a new project — his first since 2013’s The 20/20 Experience.
Timberlake’s output since that has been confined to his work with the animated movie Trolls. “Can’t Stop The Feeling” was the No. 1 song in the country for a bit.
In a new profile with Variety, though, Timberlake delved into his and Pharrell’s relationship, which dates back to the early 2000s, and their recent work.
“Songwise, I think we’ve got a good solid six that are like, ‘Whoa, what was that? Play that again.’,” Timberlake said in the profile.
“I wouldn’t say [my new material] is the antithesis of ‘20/20,’ but it does sound more singular,” he told Variety. “If ‘20/20’ sounded like it literally surrounds your entire head, this stuff feels more like it just punches you between the eyes.” He continued: “Tim[baland] is a sound junkie, the same way Pharrell is a song junkie. And then Max [Martin] is like music’s Morpheus.”
Pharrell also offered a quote to the story, where he praised Timberlake’s vulnerability in his music that you often don’t see from pop stars.
“For the biggest pop stars in the world, the place where they have the most trouble is honesty,” he said. “It’s hard for them to know that the beauty of a record, the sweetest spot in the song, is where they show vulnerability. Because there’s a formulaic sort of vulnerability, like, ‘Baby, I can’t sleep without you …’ and that’s not really it. But if you’re able to really screenshot your own vulnerability, and frame it properly, and color-correct it, then it becomes something that every human can relate to. And I think Justin is in the place where he’s mastering that right now.”
Read the full profile, where Timberlake discussed “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” his live concert film and more, on Variety.