Justin Timberlake celebrated his birthday last night in New York with a performance at Irving Plaza. It was the second of his “One Night Only” concert series which, sorry, but that makes no sense to me because if he already did one in Memphis and did it again in NYC, how can it be “One Night Only”??? Do words not mean what they mean anymore, FFS?!?
Justin is on a comeback. A new album is coming soon, followed by a tour. It was a week ago today that he released his new single “Selfish”. And how’s that going for him? In its first week, JT’s “Selfish” was beat by Britney Spears’s “Selfish”, a bonus song from eleven years ago. And sure, you can attribute that to fan trolling and not necessarily about the quality of JT’s song, but it’s not like a lot of people are out here rushing to play it, either. Especially not when Jack Harlow is out here annoying all of us with his irritatingly irresistible, “I’m vanilla, baby” and his current #1 hit “Lovin’ On Me”, which has been all over TikTok for the last couple of months.
JT is obviously hoping for the same – and maybe the kids will take pity on him and try to get something going, although that’s the thing about trends on social media, they’re hard to actively manufacture. Also, he hasn’t exactly been all that popular lately. Especially not after Britney’s book came out. And the lingering hilarity of “fo shiz fo shiz”.
Anyway, at one point last night in the show, during a mashup of “Holy Grail” and “Cry Me a River”, this is what Justin said onstage:
Apart from the obvious Britney connection, it might not have been great timing for JT and his defiance, because you know what today is? It’s the 20th anniversary of when he joined Janet Jackson on stage at the Super Bowl and, well, you know what happened afterwards.
In 2004, there were two artists on stage when part of Janet’s top was ripped off, and one of those artists enjoyed success afterwards while the other was blacklisted. Janet says she’s over it but a big part of the culture will never be over it. So just as this video of JT of apologising to “absolutely f-cking nobody” is going viral, there are also headlines in the media marking this date in pop culture history running side by side with his bravado. Such a good look, well done!
And by such a good look, I kinda mean it if, finally, JT is embracing his villain status. He’s been fighting it for a long time, refusing to accept the title, insisting that he’s actually a real one. But what would the story be without a villain? Villainous Timberlake is the only Timberlake I recognise – and if he’s recognising, we’re all in agreement. This is the reconciliation!