Few artists have invested more energy in freeing themselves from their past than Justin Timberlake; his fierce determination to demolish his pretty-boy pop image is, at times, awe-inspiring' having successfully stepped out on his own with 2002's "Justified," Timberlake spent the intervening years jet-setting, holding court with Cameron Diaz and remaining one of the sprightliest falsettos in the business.
A wolfish come-hither delivered by a wisecracking lothario, Timberlake's sophomore solo effort "FutureSex/LoveSounds" is a slick, stylish, hip-hop-infused joint that boasts several devastatingly cool cuts, but lacks an overall cohesion; the inescapable, staccato single "SexyBack" juts and jags while the roiling nocturnal jam "My Love" smolders through the speakers, thanks to a laid-back T.I. cameo. Despite its polish, much of the record feels airless and sterile; there's no doubting Timberlake's skill at evoking vintage Prince and Michael Jackson throughout, but his songs hold the listener at arm's length, on the outside looking in.
- Preston Jones