As if the Justin Timberlake hype train wasn't in high enough gear after his album and Jimmy Fallon debut, it kept on rolling Tuesday night into Wednesday, and will through next week, so let's see how his side career/brand management is going at this very moment—now with updated scores!
The CW Special
Something tells us this isn't going to be as fraught with intended meaning as Beyoncé's Life Is But a Dream on HBO. Why? Well, the one-hour special, set to debut on the official album drop date of March 19, will air on the CW, and its title is just dreadfully layered with corporate greed: Target Presents the IHeartRadio Album Release Party With Justin Timberlake. The thing itself will be a mix of performance and interview with JT. The Hollywood Reporter describes the event thusly:
It will be taped from Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre during the album-release party March 18, which will include a 30-minute radio special revealing the story behind the making of the album.
Hype Level: 4
Honestly, we just feel like Timberlake could have done better. Really? The CW? Even though his album screams, "I want to be taken seriously as an adult artist," the network shouts back, "But you were in 'NSYNC! Don't forget your roots!" Somewhere, anywhere, Joey Fatone is cackling.
The Fallon Bit
Now, this is the kind of thing we were hoping for from Fallon's "Timberweek." An adorable, clever, viral bit with JT doing his comedy thing while also exercising his pipes.
Hype Level: 7
Stuff like this makes everyone like Timberlake, so ultimately it's good for the hype machine. It is, however, telling that the song Timberlake is most able to parody is one that's about seven years old. Fallon may be the one benefiting most from the enterprise:
The Sunday New York Times Feature
Timberlake gets the New York Times treatment from Jon Caramanica this weekend, and it's a mixed bag for the pop star: it's not entirely positive, but it's also not a dismissive. Caramanica is not thrilled by the album itself:
It’s an album of largely inconsequential beauty, showing Mr. Timberlake as an artist with no incentive to innovate, making this primarily a paean to brand maintenance. It’s not meant to change minds.
But he respects the person, and that's what matters, right? Caramanica argues that, during his SNL bits, Timberlake "sounded more at home and vocally present in those moments than when singing his new songs, or almost anywhere on 'The 20/20 Experience.'" The conclusion?
Forget the album; go see the show, or whatever else Mr. Timberlake applies his talents to. He’s learned how to be a musician who has no need to make records, the perfect solution to the modern economy.
Hype Level: 8
It's not totally positive, but it's respectful and it's the Times. With Timberlake's obvious play to make himself seem mature, he wants stuff like this, not The CW.