In the early hours of Friday morning, Justin Timberlake fulfilled his promise of releasing Man of the Woods lead single “Filthy,” along with a futuristic visual.
For the past few days, Timberlake, along with his home label, RCA Records, have teased the single and video since announcing the release of his forthcoming album. From the album art to the five-minute trailer, many fans and critics thought Timberlake’s sound on Man of the Woods would be more country, a la Miley Cyrus, or more indie-folk music, like Mumford and Sons.
Well, everyone was wrong, as the single sounds like a FutureSex/LoveSounds meets 20/20 Experience outtake, with a length of nearly five minutes and a big pop sound that melds R&B, EDM and industrial pop. Along with the left-field production, the lyrics verge on risqué, especially with the chorus stating, “Go on head / And put your filthy hands all over me.” These aren’t the most SFW lyrics one would imagine coming after the introspective vibe Timberlake was giving off in teasers.
While the song’s unconventional sound is risky for a first single, the Mark Romanek-directed video takes things up a notch by featuring Timberlake in a Steve Job-esque role, showing an audience his latest creation: an automated version of himself. Timberlake controls the android through his movement (some moves verge on being NSFW) as the android is surrounded by female dancers.
Only time will tell if “Filthy” will be a great jumpstart for Timberlake’s new era or be reduced to a buzz single. In the meantime, Timberlake has promised to release three more songs and videos before the Feb. 2 release of Man of the Woods. Watch “Filthy” below.