Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” is a lengthy love song about reigniting a flame that you should have never let burn out in the first place. I had previously mentioned that I have some reservations about how this comeback album will sound and it’s very clear that a lot of the material Timberlake will be releasing is inspired by his marriage to Mary Camden Jessica Biel. Sometimes wedded bliss makes performers boring — see Usher’s Here I Stand — but “Mirrors,” however, puts me at ease. When you hit the halfway mark, the track materializes into the multi-layered space pop we’ve come to expect from JT and Timbaland. While a lot of these layers are Timberlake repeating “You are the love of my life,” the innovation negates the saccharine — or maybe I am just becoming a sap. All up for debate. I do think this song begs for a remix from Future. Just putting that out there, Universe. Check out “Mirrors” below.

The 20/20 Experience is out 3/19 on RCA.

Comments (27)
  1. Yeah… No.

    Like, there is no justification (Justinfication?) over supporting this. It’s completely mediocre and doesn’t need to be the several minutes too long track it is. Everyone remembers the three or four songs off Future Sex / Love Sounds that were good to very good. No one remembers that Justified was very safe pop, and before that, dude was a member of N’Sync.

    It bares restating this:

    In the Mumford defense article last week, there was a obviously a lot of heat over the topic, and while I think it’s always nice to look at shit like that from a cultural perspective, I definitely understand why anyone would be upset over endorsing it from a quality perspective. These days, it’s as if big sites like Stereogum (might as well throw SPIN in there alongside them since they’re one in the same now) and Pitchfork — who were founded on the basis of endorsing independent music that was being white noised out of the room by the mainstream music industry — are now doing an about-face on banal pop, and now trying to convince their independent-minded readers that they have it wrong again, that pop music is where it’s at. It’s like that Portlandia bit where the Fred Armisen character with the soul patch and ear gauges keeps seeing a square doing everything he’s doing that’s trendy, so he quits it, until eventually Fred’s soul patch guy is the square and the square is the soul patch guy.

    Where are the days when SPIN put Beyonce on their cover, and everyone flipped their shit, cancelled their subscriptions and the Editor got fired? That needs to happen again.

    • I will say this: there’s a reason I find Mumford and Sons putrid and am totally willing to indulge JT (at least Futuresex era JT) and Beyonce. Mumford and Songs, Fun., Gotye, etc. represent the same sort of marketing of the indie label for bland, contrived product as Kenny G was for the label jazz. And the label indie is something that, as much as it’s been altered over the years, still held some importance for me. I hate that tasteless hacks get cool cred in the mainstream for misguidedly exploiting a label that for years has stood for the marginalized. Beyonce and JT on the other hand have always been pop stars and in my personal opinion, pop stars of the highest order, pop stars who’ve put out great pop songs that leave a lasting impression, offer unusual/innovative/genuinely affecting production techniques (“My Love” was so awesome in a big way because of how crazy Timbaland went with that song), and feature a real ownership of one of a kind vocal prowess. “Countdown”, “My Love”, etc. are some of the most interesting, novel pop songs of the last decade in the same way “Are You that Somebody” and “Get Ur Freak On” were before that, or “Billie Jean” and all of Purple Rain was before that.
      But that’s just my take.

      • You better make sure I don’t come across you in the 413 or I will slap those words right out of your mouth.

        • Totally kidding, by the way.

          But seriously, here’s the thing: All of these “highest order of pop stars” don’t need web sites like Pitchfork, Stereogum, SPIN, Gorilla vs. Bear — whoever BUZZ Media is buying today — coming to their aid. They make their money and get enough publicity just fine regardless of this press. I’m not saying they aren’t doing what it is they do poorly, but I don’t think it’s worth wasting time and energy talking about when some really great band who could be something big if someone paid attention to them, but since they don’t have any money for press, they can barely squeak in an honorable mention mp3 post after the bassist friends Amrit on Facebook.

          • To me, the difference is the calibre of discussion. I like to read Stereogum comments, whether the post ranks Sleater-Kinney’s albums or shares the new JT song. The discussion you get on Stereogum tends to be at a higher level and simply a lot different than the discussion you get on, say, The Prophet Blog, which I read for different reasons. I agree that JT doesn’t need the publicity, but I think enough readers here believe his music has merit (or will be vocal about why it doesn’t) to warrant the post in the first place.

          • Also JT rules.

          • It’s also worth noting that the site has more man power now. I don’t think money means that they’ve sold out to promoting pop acts, it just means that they can post more news about different things without taking anything away from the little guys. That’s what I’ve noticed anyway.

          • Agree to disagree, I suppose. I feel like a line should be drawn in the sand at some point, and while being open minded about music is nice, it’s nicer not to be so globally appeasing with your audience.

            I also believe BUZZ Media ultimately plans on killing every independent music publication out there by buying or partnering up with them, forcing them through advertising pressure to transition them into pop-centric music web sites that will focus more and more and more on the Timberlakes, Beyonces, Rihannas and Gagas of the world until it’s the main focus, while the independent musicians get swept under the rug. Cut to 10 years from now, indie is back where it was before the Aughties, substance-less major label gloss is recharged and some dork with a journalism degree begins a new system of communicating about the underground music he loves us using whatever budding technology will equate to the future version of a blog. Kid gets handed millions to sell his site after it gains traction — the cycle repeats itself.

          • Michael, what are you talking about? The only reason any band/act/group/artist is ever “independent” is because they don’t sell enough of their craft to be considered ‘pop.’ For some reason, you seem to think that your “independent” bands don’t want to become POPular. They do. As for your publications, becoming “pop-centric” is also their goal, or at least inevitable, whether it’s advertised or not. Enough people subscribe, they’ve become pop, along with the music that their artists make. Music doesn’t exist for elitist pricks to brag about some band their friends haven’t heard of. It’s a business and an art form like any other. Make something you like, and hope enough other people do as well so you can make a living of it.

          • To take on tommytwoshoes response, I think a large portion of independent musicians (from local dudes in hardcore bands to big name players like Titus Andronicus) don’t want to become POPular or at the very least don’t want to sign to a major label/sell out their product to commercial industries. Some do of course, but I think a large portion of them actually still believe in DIY ethics and don’t want to become rock stars. Maybe I’m just optimistic.

          • I don’t think there are many musicians who would be straight-up opposed to being popular, but for the more indie musicians that Stereogum covers, it’s something that they aren’t willing to compromise their artistic integrity for. But I feel like almost every musician wants to get their music out to as many people as possible as long as it doesn’t mean changing the music they want to make.

      • Nailed it with the Mumford-Kenny G comp. I talked with a friend a few days ago about why we hate Macklemore, and we landed on the Kenny G there as well. It’s like rap for people who know absolutely nothing about the music. And it really comes out when you think about how the musicians just don’t seem to “get it”. Much like how Kenny G got all confused when everyone got angry about playing over Louie Armstrong and just doesn’t seem to know what Jazz is, Macklemore just seems to miss the point for Rap. Like when he criticizes dudes who brag about $50 Gucci Shirts, without realizing that rappers talk about their material wealth because they didn’t have any of that before. Or how he doesn’t realize that none of his audience actually sips lean, so it’s bullshit for him to be attacking a rapper drug. It’s this whole thing where he’s posing as the white “exception” to the rest of Rap culture, but doesn’t realize that fuckin” Waka Flocka Flame supports gay marriage too, so he’s just full of shit.

        This is probably totally irrelevant to the conversation, but I typed it up, so I might as well post it.

        • You hate Macklemore because you probably didn’t know about him back when he was underground, making rap music at the same time as a lot of your ‘real rappers’. And funny to think… your ‘real rappers’ are real, why? Because they’re the ones that actually sold enough material to get noticed by the public? That is a giant contradiction to your point. I don’t see you criticizing Sean Combs for being full of shit when clearly he had your “rap culture” background…

          • Has nothing to do with sales, Macklemore sold more in a week than some of my favorite rappers have sold in their life (like G-Side) and sold less than other rappers I like.
            The real reason dude is a piece of shit human being, instead of just being a wack rapper, is that he’s constantly trying to enforce that old stereotype that outsiders have of rap music (basically that it’s homophobic, lots of drug use, materialistic), while posing as the “enlightened” alternative to the more “ignorant” rap culture. Meanwhile, that stereotyping of rap that he is helping to propagate (though scumbags like Bill O’Rielly have been working that stereotype for years) ignores the wonderful complexity of the rap world and dismisses it all as “ignorant”. That stereotype is not only stupid, it’s also something that ends up dangerously close to racism.

          • Puffy was full of shit and so is Rick Ross, but they don’t imply that the other rappers out there are bad people like Macklemore tends to. Plenty of rappers and musicians in general are full of shit and tell lies about their wealth or sexual prowess and I don’t have nearly as much of a problem with that as I do with people who claim to be more “righteous” or “moral” than everyone else and don’t understand that it’s all based on people’s situations and if he was born poor in the ghetto he would be going apeshit over his new ability to pay $50 for a shirt and buy his mom a house just like other rappers do.

    • I dunno. I was pretty into that Justified record before I was ever reading indie blogs. Pop music can be great, and I have no problem with sites like Stereogum incorporating them into the mix (isn’t it reverse bureaucracy when you say these sites are too good for pop?), and not everyone makes their decisions based on Pitchfork rankings. JT had a built in fan base before Futuresex (as you mentioned). He’s one of the most popular artists in the world, and that doesn’t automatically make him void of quality. By that logic, you should be just as up in arms about Radiohead’s 10.0s.

    • With that said, I’m not a huge fan of this song. LOL.

    • Beyonce and Timberlake count as banal pop music? You’re talking about the same artists who release songs like “Single Ladies,” “LoveStoned,” “Countdown” and “Mirrors,” right? You’re talking about the same artist who performed the halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, right?

      It is refreshing to see publications like Pitchfork, SPIN, and Stereogum actually listening to the music itself and realizing that genuinely innovative stuff can be right under our noses, selling millions of albums, and getting lots of radio play. Imagine that.

      Please for heaven’s sake stop buying into the whole “mainstream” versus “independent” music thing, because that distinction has been blurring for a while now. There are just bigger and smaller record labels, involved in the same industry. Occasionally they release music that is great and does something new. Most of the time they release stuff that retreads the same old territory.

  2. This song is fucking awesome so why dont you go blow your load somewhere else mr portlandia


  4. I like it, don’t think its gonna end up being a highlight from the album, but its a good song. The uber-dramatic thing he’s got going in the first half of the song is something we don’t get much in pop these days.

  5. This song sounds like leftover Hamburger Helper from 2006.

    Justin is a really good singer, and Timbaland is an iconic producer, but they both sound complacent and out of touch here.

    Disagree with me all you want, but I have a weird feeling that Justin Bieber will release something along the same lines as FutureSex/LoveSounds in a few years. He will grow hungry for artistic recognition, just like Timberlake once was.

    JT’s at a different place in his life now, and I think that he’s just in it for the fun (…and because millions of people kept bugging him to make more music). He doesn’t have anything to prove anymore.

    Don’t expect too much from the new album.

  6. I keep hoping for something as badass as “Lovestoned/I Think She Knows (Interlude)”

  7. Damn good song, and I ain’t even a JT fan historically…though even in elementary school I knew NSYNC was better than the Backstreet Boys.

  8. Schmaltzy and honest at the same time. With a dope beat too. Good song.

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