Top 10 Justin Timberlake Songs
The list of the Top 10 Justin Timberlake Songs includes the music that established JT as a modern-day soul man. Timberlake may have started out his career as the guy with the goofy-looking hair from 'N Sync, but as time went on, it became obvious he could really sing. And write songs. And command an audience as an all-around entertainer. With his solo albums 'Justified' and 'FutureSex/LoveSounds,' he won over new fans to become one of the biggest superstars in pop music.
Now that Justin is finally ready to gift us with a new album after a seven-year wait, let’s recap the best songs of his post-boy band career.
On this 2007 dance single, JT found himself under the influence of love – or more accurately, sex. On the fifth single from ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds,’ he sings, “She looks like a model / Except she's got a little more a-- / Don't even bother / Unless you've got that thing she likes / I hope she's goin' home with me tonight.” The track hit No. 1 on Billboard's Dance chart and spawned a creative music video that combined Timberlake’s choreography with computer-generated sound waves.
At 31 years old, Timberlake returned in 2013 with ‘Suit & Tie,’ proving he is worlds more mature and experienced than the Justin of the mid 2000s. This is reflected in everything from the song’s title to its light R&B feel, which seems wisely designed to be polar opposite of the EDM dance-pop trends of the moment. He sings, “I can’t wait til I get you on the floor, good looking / Going out so hot, just like an oven / And I’ll burn myself, but just had to touch it.” The newly-married superstar even enlists Jay-Z to rap about the in-laws.
Perhaps the most outside-the-box song on ‘Justified,’ the Latin-flavored ‘Señorita’ is a jazzy collaboration with the Neptunes that blends piano, cowbell, and a dynamic rhythm section. The fourth and final single from JT’s solo debut, the track allowed the singer to play the role of the ladies’ man once again, a role that seemed to fit him more and more as time went on. After a call-and-response section alternating between guys and girls, the track ends with the best line of the song, Justin’s tease: “Gentlemen, good night. Ladies… good morning.”
JT’s third straight No. 1 single, ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around,’ was the result of an initially aimless studio session between the singer and producers Timbaland and Nate ‘Danja’ Hills. The trio fooled around with various instruments until they created a riff that everyone liked and decided to run with it. JT added lyrics, Timbaland filled in drums and keyboards, and within a couple hours, the Grammy-winning, mid-tempo track was completed.
With the lead single from ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds,’ Justin unleashed an innovative, Prince-influenced song that sounded like nothing else in pop music at the time. His vocals were distorted as he crooned the new catch phrase, “I’m bringing sexy back.” Though some critics complained that sexy had never gone away, Timberlake responded appropriately to his ‘SexyBack’ haters a few months later in the Timbaland collab ‘Give it To Me,’ singing, “If sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my sh-- / Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.”
For his debut solo single, Justin took a Neptunes-penned song that may have been written for Michael Jackson and made it his own. Similar in style to 'N Sync’s final hit, ‘Girlfriend,’ ‘Like I Love You’ is a sexy, acoustic guitar-driven track that conclusively proved Timberlake could thrive without his boy band mates. The track ends with a spoken-word section in which the singer reminds us of his talent, bragging, “Sometimes people are just destined to do what they do.”
‘Rock Your Body’ is the track Justin sang during the unfortunate “wardrobe malfunction” with Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl, but thankfully the stigma of that incident has faded and it still holds up as a great pop song. The third single from ‘Justified,’ ‘Rock Your Body’ features a catchy dance beat with hints of R&B and disco, plus an a cappella breakdown in which the singer beat boxes and creates his own catchy sound effects.
A standout collaboration from Timberlake’s sophomore effort, ‘My Love’ showcased Timberlake’s falsetto like never before. Atop whooshing synth bursts, he coos, “If I wrote you a symphony / Just to say how much you mean to me / If I told ya you were beautiful / Would you date me on the regular?” The co-sign from T.I. helped the song reach No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in addition to topping the Pop Songs chart... not to mention the fact that it won for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2007 Grammys.
Hand claps, drum stomps and an unstoppable synth line power ‘Summer Love,’ JT’s fourth straight hit from ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds.’ The track is almost like a rap song with the number of words crammed into its four minutes. Timberlake shows he has major game as he woos a potential love with cute lines like, “Tell me where you from, what you do, what you like, let me pick your brain, girl / And tell me how they got that pretty little face on that pretty little frame, girl.”
‘Cry Me a River’ was a smash hit partly because of its confessional nature. As a personal track about his breakup with Britney Spears, the song gave Justin a chance to reveal details about the relationship that he wouldn’t otherwise talk about, like when he accused her of cheating on him, singing in his unstoppable falsetto, “You don’t have to say what you did / I already know / I found out from him.” Scandalous! The tune won the singer his first Grammy and caps off our list of the Top 10 Justin Timberlake Songs.