If “Cry Me A River” represented JT’s break from his past, then “SexyBack” represented his
step leap forward. On FutureSex/LoveSounds, JT presented himself as a man. He was no longer a boy bander or a virginal pop star, he was a man with sex appeal. There was a new swagger in his step as represented in his first single and later cemented in the video for his second single, “My Love.” The critically acclaimed and commercially successful album earned him a nomination for Grammys’ Album Of The Year and landed him two awards for Best Dance Recording and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
In the summer of 2001, N SYNC’s released its third album, Celebrity. By then, it was the beginning of the end. The group was aging past its appeal, members were exploring solo projects (acting, albums, guest-hooking). But nothing laid the groundwork for JT’s solo career more than “Gone.” The second single was focused on the singer’s artistry. He co-wrote the song with Robson (see: C) and the recording was relied entirely on JT’s lead vocals. The rest of the group served as background singers on their own record.
Throughout the course of his career, JT has had every hairstyle imaginable for one guy. He sported the beach blond, the curly ‘fro, the buzz cut and the sexy coif. If there’s one thing to say about his hair, it’s that thank goodness the cornrows didn’t last long.
I: Inside Llewyn Davis
In an effort to make good on his rave reviews in The Social Network, JT signed up for the Coen Brothers flick, Inside Llewyn Davis, which tells the story of a singer-songwriter navigating New York’s ’60s music scene. In another smart career move, the actor has surrounded himself with stellar actors (Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan) in another Oscar-bait film that’s sure to get him the recognition he deserves.
J: Joint Effort
As Timberlake became a more prolific artist, the desire to work with him increased. Following the success of FS/LS (see: F), JT was in high demand. Since then he’s collaborated with Ciara, Reba McEntire, Rihanna, T.I., Will.i.am, Jay Z (see: Z) and many, many others. All these ‘joint efforts’ have been a comment on his lasting power and ability to work with others (essential for a long career in the entertainment industry).