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Music / Justin Timberlake

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He's bringing sexy back.

"I think music will always be a big part of my life. I can't go five minutes without singing, sometimes unconsciously. And people stare at me, and I'm wondering why they're staring, and then I'm realizing that I'm belting out a tune."

Justin Randall Timberlake (born January 31, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor. He has won six Grammy Awards as well as four Emmy Awards.

Timberlake got his big break when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in Disney Channel's television series The New Mickey Mouse Club. He then rose to prominence as a member of the Boy Band *NSYNC, being one of the band's two lead vocalists as well as its youngest member (being 14 at the time of formation). Funnily enough, he met future bandmate JC Chasez on The New Mickey Mouse Club.

In 2002, Timberlake released his debut solo album, Justified, which sold more than 7 million copies worldwide and spawned the hits "Rock Your Body" and "Cry Me a River" (the latter helping to spur the Celebrity Break-Up Song trend of the 2000s, being written about his former relationship with Britney Spears). Timberlake continued his success with his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and produced the US number-one hit singles "SexyBack", "My Love", and "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around". He also lent his 2003 song "I'm Lovin' It" to McDonald's for their advertisement campaign of the same name, cementing his legacy early on.

He has also played roles in movies, even taking a hiatus from music between 2008 and 2012 to focus on acting. Noted films he stars or appears in include the Trolls films, Friends with Benefits, and The Social Network, the lattermost garnering him much acclaim for his portrayal of Sean Parker. He also produced a number of popular collaborations with both Andy Samberg and the full troupe of The Lonely Island, including the viral song/video "Dick in a Box". As his appearances at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards have shown, he also has a talent for burping.

Timberlake's other ventures include the record label Tennman Records, the music production team The Ys, the fashion label William Rast, and the restaurants Destino and Southern Hospitality. He's also a minority owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies; despite his relatively small financial interest, he has been active in the team's free agent recruiting process.

Tropes-wise, he is the Trope Namer of Wardrobe Malfunction, first using the phrase in an apology for exposing Janet Jackson's bare breast in the middle of the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.


  • Justified (2002)
  • FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
  • The 20/20 Experience (2013) note 
  • Man of The Woods (2018)
  • Everything I Thought It Was (2024)

Music videos with their own pages:

Partial filmography:

Tropes related to Mr. Timberlake:

  • Badass Boast: "Chop Me Up" and "Sexy Ladies", which are about how he can get any girl.
  • Bowdlerization: He performed "Rock your Body" at the 2003 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, but obviously could not use it in wholesale form.
  • Break Up Song: Most of Justified are these, considering what happened to his relationship with Britney Spears.
  • The Casanova: He has hooked up with Fergie, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Alyssa Milano, Spice Girls' Emma Bunton, Cameron Diaz, and allegedly Janet Jackson before marrying Jessica Biel.
  • Cheater Gets Cheated On: "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around" is about the singer getting cheated on by his now ex-girlfriend, only to enjoy the Schadenfreude of having her get cheated on by her own lover, and then trying to crawl back to him for forgiveness.
  • The Cast Show Off: His character in Friends with Benefits and Bad Teacher have moments of this due to his music career.
  • Darker and Edgier: The second half of The 20/20 Experience seems to be about the darker side of life, song titles and music video wise. "TKO" and "Take Back The Night" are darker then the first half. Justified is darker than his work with *NSYNC as well, due to a Creator Breakdown.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Losing My Way.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: The first 33 seconds of "Pusher Love Girl".
  • Epic Rocking:
    • A majority of FutureSex/LoveSounds is 5-7 minutes, attributed partially to some tracks consisting of a song and an interlude or prelude being directly attached to each other.
    • The entirety of The 20/20 Experience, with the sole exception of "That Girl".
  • Epunymous Title: His debut solo album is called Justified.
  • Erotic Eating: In "Carry Out", which consists solely of fast food related innuendos.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Used extensively on FutureSex/LoveSounds.
  • Gasshole: Won "Best Burp" at the 2003 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Aptly used to great effect in the second half of the "Mirrors" music video.
  • Identical Grandson: In this Saturday Night Live sketch, Timberlake plays his great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Timberlake, who is immigrating to America, and describes all the things he hopes his great-great-grandson will accomplish. This includes boasting about being The Casanova, a Take That! to Britney Spears (again), and Self-Deprecation about his falsetto singing voice, constant guest appearances on SNL, and the song “Sexy Back.”
    Timberlake: I actually dream of a day when my great-great-grandson will bring sexy back.
    Bobby Moynihan: Bring sexy back? What does that mean?
    Timberlake: It'll be gone, and he’ll bring it back.
    Will Forte: Where did it go?
  • Important Haircut: Justin ditched the bleached blond curlsnote  after leaving *NSYNC and has generally sported much more stylish and mature cuts since.
  • Intercourse with You: "Sexyback", "Lovestoned", "Chop Me Up", "Damn Girl", "Take Me How", "Like I Love You", "Rock Your Body", "Futuresex/Lovesound", "Signs", "Ayo Technology", "Dick in a Box", "4 Minutes", "Love Sex Magic", "Carry Out", "The Golden Rule", "Strawberry Bubblegum", "Take Back the Night", "Dress On", "Filthy", and possibly "Suit and Tie".
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Sexy Ladies" is a general lampshade to his immense attractiveness, and his The Casanova-like luck with ladies. (And his luck with groupies also, while romancing Britney Spears...allegedly.)
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The basis of "What Goes Around Comes Around". The first part of the song details the narrator emotionally reeling from his lover's unfaithfulness, but the second part reveals that she has since been betrayed by a lover of her own in the same way she betrayed him.
    Tale as old as time
    Girl, you got what you deserved.
    • Also exhibited to darker extent in the song's music video; instead of experiencing her own betrayal, Justin's unfaithful lover, while fearfully driving away from Justin, runs into a fiery car pileup, gets ejected from her car, and presumably dies. It's also this for Justin himself—the video starts with him stealing her from another man, and when she pays it forward by cheating on him, he starts the car chase in a fit of anger and ends up losing her forever.
  • Lighter and Softer: FutureSex/LoveSounds was arguably lighter on the break up tunes of Justified.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Can't Stop the Feeling!" is an upbeat song...including lyrics about what one can only assume is a stalker, mentioning creeping up on one and things that shouldn't be done.
  • Medium Awareness: "SexyBack" has Justin declare "Take it to the bridge!" and "Take it to the chorus!" before each.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He was a lot of young women's first crush and his first and second albums were aiming to be sexy.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "Sexyback".
    Dirty babe
    You see these shackles, baby
    I'm your slave
    I'll let you whip me if I misbehave
  • Ordinary People's Music Video: "Can't Stop the Feeling!" shows several ordinary folks dancing at their jobs, before bringing them together at the end for a choreographed dance under an overpass.
  • The Perfectionist: While discussing the process of making The 20/20 Experience, he said he was the one person who wanted to redo every song, a thousand times, to make sure it's the perfect comeback album. Allegedly, he did his research regarding his appearance in Elton John's video for "This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore". At least, that's how Sir Elton explained how spot-on Timberlake was in his role as Elton John. While at a Memphis Soul workshop at the White House, he revealed that while in NSYNC, after every performance he would watch videos of his performance in order to improve.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Utterly, utterly averted, he is actually pretty damn good at it, check it out .
    • "Chop Me Up" is also a valid proof of his talent at rapping.
  • Red Baron: Justin's Heterosexual Life-Partner Jimmy Fallon attempted this on Justin's behalf at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and referred to him as "The President Of Pop." It didn't quite catch on.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Used quite a lot on studio albums, alongside backing vocalists.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: "Suit & Tie" exemplifies this, though Justin has been prominently wearing sharp suits since at least 2005.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Until the End of Time", "My Love", "Like I Love You", "Take It from Here" and "Mirrors".
  • Smoking Is Cool: In the music video for "Suit & Tie", Justin smokes a Cuban cigar in slow motion, in black and white, while in a sharp suit, as Jay-Z is rapping.
  • Stealth Pun: "Carry Out" is Intercourse with You with fast-food metaphors. Y'know, eating out.
  • Subdued Section: "Another Song" as the last track off "Futuresexlovesound", and his habitual breakdowns in his songs such as "Lovestoned", "Mirrors", "Tunnel Vision" and "What Goes Around Comes Around".
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: "Cry Me a River" is a "Pay Cheating Unto Cheating" Take That! against his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. In the music video, he breaks into her mansion, films himself making out with some random girl, and leaves the evidence for a Britney look-alike to find.
  • Take That!:
    • Did his fair share at Britney Spears for her alleged cheating while they were in a relationship. "Cry Me A River", "Last Night", "Worthy Of", and a few choice words in a few interviews.
    • "What Goes Around...Comes Around" is allegedly about Elisha Cuthbert, who had been in a long-term relationship with his best friend.
    • Janet Jackson and Prince also got a Take That! in his song he did for Timbaland's first Shock Value album. (Give It to Me)
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: At 6'1" tall with dark hair and the endearment of women everywhere, is it any wonder?
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass: After starting his solo career.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Jay-Z in "Suit and Tie".
  • Workaholic: Has been touring non-stop for two years (2012-2013) and extended his tour to the end of 2014 with only just a month or two off in between.


Video Example(s):


Cornelius Timberlake

Cornelius Timberlake dreams of the success his great-great-grandson will have in the New World.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / IdenticalGrandson

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