It’s a little late for submissions for Song of the Summer but Justin Timberlake decided to shoot his shot any way. His new song “SoulMate” (why is it spelled like this, haven’t we suffered enough?) dropped yesterday for no other reason than that JT clearly thinks this song is good enough to rival Cardi B’s “I Like It” or The Carters’ “Apesh-t,” the only two acceptable choices for Song of the Summer.
Billboard describes “SoulMate” as a “samba-like track” and if Justin Timberlake and “samba” in the same sentence makes you want to never want to listen to music again, you’re on the right track to feeling how I felt when I heard “SoulMate” for the first time.
The song opens with JT’s voice saying “summer starts now.” Summer officially started on June 21st but OK. From there, it only gets worse. Like a budget version of Drake and Rihanna’s “Too Good” mashed with a sh-tty take on “Slow Jamz” (specifically the “wannabe, wannabe” run). If you think I’m just being hard on him since I came out of my Justin Timberlake Sunken Place years ago and I generally think he’s a selfish dick who is no longer relevant and in a better world he would have been the one to lose his career after Nipplegate (#NeverForget), I promise it’s not just my anti-Timberlake bias talking. This is not a good song. I can admit when Justin Timberlake puts out a good song. The definitive Song of the Summer from JT’s catalogue was his 2006 track “Summer Love” further proving that JT’s best music is behind him.
The point of releasing a random track, outside of an album cycle and so close to his last album release may be that Justin is trying to make everyone forget about the disaster that is Man of the Woods. He could be attempting to move on to his next phase as fast as possible since he was maligned for putting out the worst work of his career and faced declining first week sales just a few months ago. This strategy only works if the new work is exponentially better than the bad work. All Justin Timberlake did with this new song is remind us that he hasn’t put out good sh-t in years. It just reminded me that Shawn Mendes’s entire album turned Justin Timberlake into the irrelevant uncool Dad of pop.
“SoulMate” was reportedly recorded last week with Drake producer Nineteen85 James Fauntleroy (maybe they’re trolling him?). JT also revealed that he’s been talking to Drake about collaborating again (they first hooked up on the forgettable “Cabaret”). So, it sounds like Justin Timberlake’s next era is coming in hot like this heatwave no one wants. Again, I ask, HAVEN’T WE SUFFERED ENOUGH?