Justin Timberlake’s New Songs: Heavy On LoveSounds, Light On FutureSex

While Beyonc√© captivated our attention and manipulated all our senses there was other music to be heard in New Orleans over the weekend. Justin Timberlake was the entertainment of choice at bajillionaire Mark Cuban’s DirecTV party on Saturday night, jumping ahead of his Grammy performance by seven days because no one in this world likes to stick to previously announced dates. JT took the stage as a featured solo performer for the first time in years–excluding pop-up performances at his BBQ joint–debuting “Suit & Tie” live (with Jay-Z!) and revealing two more new songs from his upcoming album, The 20/20 Experience. Yes, the flawless, throwback wardrobe helps, but at this point it seems hard for Justin Timberlake to convey any other than an effortless cool (MySpace projects included).

First listens–live, at that–to new songs “Pusher Love Girl” and “That Girl” have us formulating a more cohesive opinion on what the first record since 2006 could sound like. Sultry and mid-tempo, the latter evokes the same kind of mood-setting pretenses as much of the second half of FutureSex/LoveSounds does (minus Bob’s cry for help). Timberlake’s vocals are enhanced by a brass section that punctuates his more honest declarations before his critics (“I’m in love with that girl, so don’t be mad at me”), and “Pusher Love Girl,” in particular, soars on his trademark falsetto.

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