It's like witnessing the stag night of some young blokes with too much money and very...
Lucy Davies 2002
The title of Justin's latest, rather reminiscent of Ms Stefani's latest album title, promises much. The sounds of sex and love in the future. Hmm, it must sound pretty amazing.
But first, comment must be passed on this album cover! Is Justin in his Michael Jackson Bad throwback suit smashing up a mirror ball supposed to be smashing up the past and bringing in the future? Let's hope so.
Initially, it's difficult to listen to the lyrics of the opening tracks and give an objective opinion. It's like trying to find redeemable qualities about some guy who has zero social skills and stares at women on his own from the corner of a bar. Only he seems to have found some similarly unreconstructed creepy friends shouting words of encouragement to his clunky chat-up lines, like Timbaland.
By way of example, Prince wannabe track "Sexy Ladies" contains the proud lyrics: 'Just to let you know that I've got sexy laydehs ...all over the floor'.
But it's not all bad! "Lovestoned" is a great track, with chopping violins, beatboxing, and bongos. "I Think She Knows", the interlude which follows, is quite beautiful, shimmering, and brilliantly constructed.
"What Goes Around" has a very slight Bollywood flavour, and whilst Justin will never be a profound lyricist, he does do a nice line in falsetto harmonies underlined with flowing violins. "Losing my Way" is about Bob, a crack addict who doesn't know the colour of his daughter's eyes. It's a surprising departure with gospel choir kicking in halfway. I can't decide whether this is brilliant or cheese on toast.
It's difficult to listen to the whole album in one go,sometimes like witnessing the stag night of some young blokes with too much money and very little charm.And the porn photographer bonus track "Pose" could have been executed with humour, but Justin's vanilla character just makes it incredibly icky. Sure, he's frequently funky, but rarely functional. Is this the future of sex and love? If so, it's brutal, defensive, and only sometimes worth negotiating.