Dear Mr. Timberlake

On March 20, 2008 by Eden M. Kennedy

That Justin Timberlake album I said I was all about listening to last week? Well, I tell you what, I actually started listening to it. What a bunch of crap.

(The theme for April’s daily blogging is “Letters” — I’m jumping in a little early but once I get seized with an idea I am helpless to keep it from bursting forth unfettered.)

Dear Mr. Timberlake;

You certainly have the affliction for some tired songwriting tropes. But lyrics written by and for fourteen-year-old girls usually err on the side of cliched, it’s true. What I really love about this song “Senorita” is how you work the whole pity angle. I bet it gets you so laid.

On that sunny day / Didn’t know I’d meet / Such a beautiful girl / Walking down the street

You know what else rhymes with “meet” and “street”? Cheat. Incomplete. Neat! Peat. Teat.

Seen those bright brown eyes / With tears coming down / She deserves a crown . . .

Seriously, a crown! Maybe it’s a cultural thing (warning: I’m about to be insensitive and white) (and old), but speaking as a disheveled, gray-haired guera, do girls still think that being plucked from the peasantry to land in some puffy-dress-wearing, cousin-humping royal family is a romantic solution to a shitty day at school?

I know, I’m being disingenuous. It’s totally cool if you want to prop up the princess industry, Justin. *sigh*

Senorita, I feel for you / You deal with things that you don’t have to / Your man doesn’t love you, not like I could / come on over my way, but because this song was written by a fourteen-year-old girl I won’t talk about my penis, even though it’s right there, I just want to hold you in my arr-arr-arr-arr-arms.

If this song didn’t have such an easy, seductive groove I’d have thrown my iPod out the window by now. And even though I’m old and hateful I eventually have to shut up when my six-year-old son is in the back seat trying to sing along and making up weird/adorable hip-hop moves with his hands.

Okay, this is the only other song I still listen to from Justified (the video is just a montage of images put together by a fan). The lyrics are just as impossible for me to take seriously coming from you, Justin, because I find it hard to believe you’re cruising Sepulveda with Pharrell and worrying about picking up your lady who just lost her soul-destroying, rent-paying job. Again, disbelief is temporarily suspended because, damn I just want to take a ride and get away-ay-ay with you, baby. God, pop music is treacherous.

The other day I was trying to lay out a serviceable Timberlake vs. Prince dichotomy for Jack based on the assumption that Prince is better for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he doesn’t take himself as seriously as JT.

Lo, how my husband chuckled at that notion! A truly hearty, gut-encompassing “OMFG you are fooling yourself” guffaw.

To support my argument that you, Justin Timberlake, are overserious about your image as well as completely deluded about who you could take in a bar fight, I would like to offer this last piece of evidence, the song “Good Foot” from the soundtrack of the stupid kids’ movie Shark Tale (again, it’s just a fan montage, there’s no official video for the song).

Hey JT? / Yeaaaaah… / Why these dudes keep starin’ at us? / I don’t know but I’ma bouta find out wassup… / Be easy, don’t take it too rough, talk to ‘em!

Honestly, I never get tired of this song, the mental image of big ol’ Timbaland telling wee skinny “JT” to “go easy” on some “dudes” — “Don’t be too rough, Justin, oh! Don’t jostle those rambunctious fellows too gruffly!” Timbaland spends the whole song holding back his boy from beating the hell out of a bunch of loudmouths with what, I don’t know, a tampon? The whole thing is so deleriously ridiculous that I ‘d put it on repeat if my whole commute to Jackson’s school wasn’t over before the song had played even once, and then of course I’m obliged to switch over to NPR for the ride home just in case I need to catch up on John McCain’s mother’s latest sneeze.

In conclusion, Justin, I’d just like to remind you of what Prince said in response to your assertion last summer that you were “bringing sexy back”:

Sexy never left.

I know, Prince is like 50 years old now, but he kicked the Superbowl’s ass last year in a driving rain, my friend, and all you did was show us Janet Jackson’s teat. Keep trying, though! You still have 20 years to pick a signature color, star in some terrible, self-indulgent movies, and earn a billion Grammies.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Kennedy

This post is totally dedicated to my homebiscuit, Anil Dash. Twits up, baby!



26 Responses to “Dear Mr. Timberlake”

  • Thanks for saving me money on this one. And we might be old and hateful, but no one comes close to Prince. Especially JT.

  • This subject hits home, because Mr. JT was a guilty pleasure of mine for a time — that “Like I Love You” song still does it for me. But, yeah, do not listen too closely to the lyrics on this album. The one that actually had me saying, “Wait, this is serious? People signed off on this song as Finished?” is the one called “Nothin’ Else.” The choicest lyrics go like this: “There’s nothing else that I have seen/There’s no getting around it/Or in between/You’re out of this world/Except you’re not green.” Um — say what? Maybe Mickey Mouse actually wrote it?

  • OMG Murph, that would have been the next song I linked to if I’d had the energy left. Really, “green” Justin? Like a 1950s Martian? ARGH!
    *claws eyes out*

  • Justin,

    Please don’t let Eden bring you down.


    P.S. You want me.

  • Prince, or &, or %, or whatever it is these days, probably takes himself as seriously as the next diva, but I love him. I saw him live in London a few months ago and he was awe-inspiring to watch. He just gets better with age, like an expensive wine. JT is but root beer by comparison.

    I have drunk quite a lot of inexpensive wine this evening, and it’s taken me about six attempts to write this comment.

  • “…puffy-dress-wearing, cousin-humping royal family…”

    Oh, my barking brains! That has got to be the funniest thing I’ve seen all day.

    I’m quite thankful my daughter didn’t jump on the JT train, thus sparing us the, um, silliness.

    Although, I must admit, I do LOVE that Pepsi commercial… especially the mailbox part. yeah.

  • IMHO, the operative point of comparison for Justified is MJ’s Off The Wall, not Prince.

  • Loved this post!

    As for the signature color thing… I can’t resist JT but I’ve been a Prince fanatic (not in a psycho way, though) since the 80′s, even before the Purple Rain madness began. So take what you’ve just learned about me and think what you will about the following: I distinctly remember an interview during his NSYNC (I don’t even know where the stupid apostrophe goes in their name!) days in which he said that whenever they were getting “styled” for videos and photo shoots that the other guys knew that if something was ‘baby blue’ it was by default HIS. Because it brought out his eyes.

    I wish I was kidding, not just about his signature color, but the mere fact that I have held on to that knowledge.

    House of Jules

  • Murph beat me to it. “You’re out of this world, except you’re not green.”

    Justin. Dude. Let’s steer clear of the martian references whilst writing lyrics to pop songs, m’kay? I still love you, but my tolerance wears thin.


    p.s. Mrs. Kennedy – I’m excited about “Letters” April!

  • I never thought that I would be jumping to the defense of Justin Timberlake, but to deflect your assertion that he takes himself too seriously, I give you “Dick In A Box” as Exhibit A.

  • I got my sister that CD for Christmas. She seems to like it. But like me, she also has no shame in loving stupid pop, as long as it SOUNDS good, man.

  • I laughed so much reading this my husband came in from the other room to make sure I was okay!

    You’re so lucky you can listen to music in the car. My son (who’s 7) gets in and says, turn off the music, I want to TALK to you and then it’s a 30 minute tale of Legos…

  • DICK IN A BOX, how could I forget?! One point for Justin.

  • This is really vintage fussy, and shows why I love you so.

    Prince fucking rules. Even if he does need hip replacement surgery.

  • I know everything you just typed is true as I’ve thought most of it before.

    But dang.

    I can’t stop shaking my doupa when his songs come on. Can’t. Stop. Shaking. It.

    Oh, JT. What you do to my normally awesome taste in music. So very sad.

    FireMom from Stop, Drop & Blog.

  • Um, for my inane internet post of the day……

    I’d still do him.

    Brooke, the 15 y/o in a 31 y/o pregnant woman’s body.

  • ok…i laughed so hard at this post! this is my first visit to your site and i laughed all the way through. then i clicked on the comments…and well…i peed my pants a little from laughing so hard. dang. that’s what four kids gets you…no bladder control. funny funny stuff. i think you need a warning label on your blog. seriously.

    warning…this blog has pee in your pants potential.


  • I thought it was “Cock in a Box”? (That’s how my brain filled in the bleeps…rhymes, right?)

  • So, yeah that first video you posted? That song sucks, but its okay for me to mute it and just WATCH HIM right? Because DAY-UM.

  • Never got the attraction of JT, but then, I’m not a fifteen year old. Back in the day, I did LOVE George Michael, and Prince naked on the cover of Lovesexy really did it for me.

  • Prince is supersexy. Little red corvette? It doesn’t get much better. But JT doesn’t have a corner on the poor lyrics market. Remember this line from Madonna’s song, “I love New York:”
    I don’t like cities/but I like New York/other cities make me feel like a dork

    dork and york — wow.

  • I totally agree about his lyrics. And that he takes himself too seriously. And that “Dick In A Box” gives him a point back on that front. And that Prince also takes himself very seriously.

    However, the one other difference not brought up here is that Prince usually plays EVERY INSTRUMENT ON HIS ALBUMS when he records them. Sure, that makes him a too-serious-for-his-own-good-CONTROL-FREAK, but it also belies the extreme amount of talent that he has that JT just cannot muster.

    But I still listen to both. JT is a dance-y guilty pleasure. Hee!

  • Re: Senorita video. Is it my imagination or is there an unusually high number of hot chicks in dive bars these days? Last dive bar I was in, not so much.

    Second the “I’d still do him” but I’d tell him he wasn’t allowed to speak AT ALL because it makes my brain hurt.

  • Oh my gosh! I still pull out the Justified album from time to time, it is my total secret shame, because you’re right, you just listen and you’re all “LOVE THIS!” but then you listen-listen to words, etc., and feel like a complete jerk for even purchasing it and just pray you don’t get into some kind of car accident where the emergency workers at the scene would be making fun of you later because as your rolled car lay in the culvert, Rock Your Body still playing and you lay there, broken armed and unable to turn it off, and you just know they’d all be looking at you, listening to the music, and shaking their heads.

  • I’m glad JT is around producing music you can dance to. But his whole street cred posing is laughable. It’s almost as funny as Michael Jackson in the “Bad” video.

    I mean, the guy used to date Britney. He was a Mouseketeer, for Christ’s sake.

    Prince is tiny and pretty and far too smart to write songs about beating people up.

  • I don’t know what goes on in a Masonic Lodge during the Masonic meetings either. But, I am married to a Mason and know alot of them, and therefore, trust it’s something wonderful. I am a member of another Masonic fraternity that includes women and it is a wonderful, charitable organization with no goats involved. ;)

    Love you dogs!