Photo courtesy Flickr user Drew de F Fawkes
That feeling that you just can’t stop? It’s elation at a new song release from one of our city’s favorite artists. Several months after his induction into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Justin Timberlake’s upcoming projects inspired him to get back into the studio and do what he does best. His new track, "Can’t Stop the Feeling," is a poppy, summer, feel-good song reminiscent of a single from The 20/20 Experience, "Take Back the Night." The release is coupled with a video featuring some of entertainment’s heavy hitters, such as Anna Kendrick and Gwen Stefani.
The new song comes as a bit of a surprise. Traditionally, Timberlake takes advantage of a much longer hiatus before releasing any music; the wait between his first and second albums was four years, while the second and third produced a whopping gap of seven years before any new releases were announced. This bodes well for rabid fans, who can look forward to increased production ahead of a usual schedule. However, it’s unclear what the song means for the immediate future.
"Can’t Stop the Feeling" is a single from the upcoming DreamWorks animated movie Trolls, for which Timberlake has signed on to be music producer. While he might write and perform a few more songs featured on the movie’s soundtrack, they may not be essential to his core catalogue of music. The only certainty is that the singer is indeed working on his next album. “I don’t know exactly when I’m going to put it out, but yeah, I’m definitely working on a new album,” he said to television host Carson Daly. More concrete information is unfortunately thin on the ground. One cause for hope, though, is sightings of Timberlake in the studio with producer/performer Pharrell Williams, who helped with the release of Justified back in 2002.
In multiple interviews, Timberlake has cited his hometown of Memphis as one of the inspirations for his newest song. He still maintains strong ties to our city, many in the sports arena. In 2009, he acquired Mirimichi Golf Course and invested millions of dollars to turn it into one of the most eco-friendly courses in the country. Afterward, he sold the property to Memphis businessman Fred Edmaiston.
In 2012, Timberlake was recruited to be part of Grizzlies owner Robert Pera’s ownership group, but only after seeking assurances that the franchise would remain in Memphis. He has even been spotted vocalizing support for the team and combating trolls on twitter. More recently Timberlake has lent himself to the campaign to have the Memphis Tigers included in a potential Big-12 expansion. As part of Soul of the City, a 42-page publication released by the University of Memphis to showcase Memphis’ appeal, Timberlake wrote, “Memphis is the global capital of soul. And that soul is not just in the music, it’s in the people.”
And let’s not forget his personal Tequila line, branded “Sauza 901.”
While keeping many ties to Memphis, it would be great to hear more pronounced influences in upcoming music. His new album’s next direction, however, is anyone’s guess. The singer has stated he might be interested in more of a country style after collaborating with country band Little Big Town in the studio and performing his song "Drink You Away" with Chris Stapleton at the 2015 Country Music Awards. For now, we’ll simply have to wait for what happens next while listening to "Can’t Stop the Feeling" on repeat.