Man of the Woods
Justin Timberlake - Man of the Woods
Critic Score
Based on 27 reviews
2018 Ratings: #76 / 76
User Score
Based on 204 ratings
2018 Ratings: #71
Your Review

CRITIC REVIEWS

75
Entertainment Weekly

Whatever all the sheepskin and heritage talk promised — a manifesto on manhood, marriage, and intimacy; a megastar stripped back to his roots — isn’t really what Woods delivers. Instead it’s a grab bag of styles and sonic mood boards.

70
Rolling Stone

Parts of Man of the Woods are his most exploratory music in years, whether it's the skippy, juddering avant-funk or making meaningful modern countrypolitan without sounding like a disco ball in a Solo cup. It's not perfect, but you can't raise a barn without getting your hands dirty.

67
A.V. Club

Unfortunately, Man Of The Woods’ thematic depth hasn’t quite caught up to the rest of his ambition. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it does make for a record that’s not quite as transcendent as it was built up to be.

67
Consequence of Sound

Bad timing for his fifth solo album, Man of the Woods, a funky, country-laced experiment that’s not nearly as bad as its already damned reputation suggests. Though the lyrics might be.

60
musicOMH

Ultimately the album is three or four songs too long, but Man Of The Woods is rarely less than entertaining. Too slick to be a genuine man of ‘rough’, Timberlake nevertheless continues to lead the way in his field, even if he does so without consistently reaching the greatness he so clearly strives for.

60
NME
There’s definitely a nod to new Nashville here – however, we’re talking more Mumford & Sons if they started songwriting for Justin Bieber than the grit and guts of Waylon Jennings or the current king of classic country, Sturgill Simpson.
60
The Guardian
The good bits are great, the bad bits best avoided, but in a pop world where originality isn’t much encouraged, there’s something really laudable about the intention behind it, and its author’s willingness to think outside the box.
60
The Independent

With his fifth studio album, Timberlake isn’t re-inventing the wheel, but he solidly continues to experiment with R&B, funk, pop and soul, with Americana creating an interesting layer. Man of the Woods does make certain that Timberlake will never stop challenging himself to enter into new territory.

60
The Telegraph

Man of the Woods pitches unevenly between town and country, with folky campfire songs about the joys of nature arranged around electronic rhythms and electro funk. The two strains don’t really get along. When it’s bad, it’s cringe-inducing.

58
Pretty Much Amazing

Add this to Taylor Swift’s recent Reputation as a surprisingly unhandsome contribution from a great pop star.

53
GIGsoup
Sorry to say, Justin, if you’re trying to get us to believe that you are truly a “Man of the Woods,” you definitely missed the target. This album is the vocal equivalent of glamping, and it will be hard to convince anyone otherwise.
50
Tiny Mix Tapes

Man of the Woods, barely able to imagine a future without its self, (always) anticipates a tomorrow with the loves that keeps it moving. It is an audacious yet deeply flawed document of thens and nexts, a hope for fuck and a shrug at real resistance, a prayer to a child and an inquiry into hoping.

50
AllMusic

Loosely inspired by his Southern upbringing but recorded primarily in Los Angeles, Man of the Woods resembles the soundtrack to a late-evening variety program that moves across departments of a high-end outdoor recreation outfitter.

50
Exclaim!

Immaculately produced and performed, it's hard to imagine Man of the Woods not being a hit, its tracks a steady stream for playlist fodder. But sound and feel are no substitute for soul.

50
Slant Magazine

Man of the Woods is a bland exercise in the monogenre; its rustic forest scene is made of Astroturf and PVC plastic.

40
Drowned in Sound
Pop’s modern-day pioneer may have set out into the woods, but in failing to prepare and engage his audience honestly, he ends up lost and attempting to navigate back home using crude and outdated tools.
40
Sputnikmusic

To summarise, Man of the Woods is an astoundingly poor, inconsistent, and sloppily constructed outing from an artist whose defining feature has been his ability to cleanly reinvent his image.

40
The Skinny
In an age of fake news, Insta filters and fraudulent politics there’s nothing worse than being accused of fakery, but the problem with Timberlake’s elaborate, 16-track effort to persuade us of his realness isn’t that it’s fake – it’s that it’s objectively bad.
40
Time Out London
Timberlake has been touting 'Man of the Woods' as a very personal album. If that's the case, beyond being a little bit flirty and a little bit dirty, we're not entirely sure if there's much else going on down there, among the trees...
40
Clash
For all its best intentions, ‘Man of the Woods’ often feels rushed, occasionally underproduced and at times, unfinished. Lacking the effortless polish of previous releases, it troughs more than peaks and ends up floundering in its own ambition.
40
NOW Magazine
The album doesn’t sound phoned in, necessarily, but it absolutely sounds vacuous, vapid and clichéd.
40
The Observer
Tunes-wise, Timberlake’s return to his roots is partial.
38
Pitchfork

It’s remarkable how few ideas are contained within this hour-plus Blue Ridge Mountains mood board of an album. Man of the Woods is a misstep large enough to merit relitigating Justin Timberlake’s status as a pop superstar.

35
The 405

His latest album, portrayed dramatically as a grand return – as well as some ambiguous, imagined “return to his roots” (sigh) – Man of the Woods, could more accurately be titled 'What Happened?: The Album'.

30
PopMatters

While Timberlake can't be faulted for wanting to try something genuinely new this far into his career, the laziness of the productions and overall misguided lyrics make for an awkward fit.

30
Northern Transmissions
What’s clearly meant as a back-to-basics exercise in authenticity comes off as shallow and poorly thought out, a grab bag of tracks sampling gospel, country, folk, and funk that proves about as rugged as a stripper in a lumberjack costume.
30
The Needle Drop
A buffet of shit: Justin Timberlake's new album is most likely the most horrendous cross-section of contemporary sounds you're going to hear this year.
Feb 2, 2018
nostar
40
Not good. Not good at all but it will probably win a fucking grammy.
Feb 2, 2018
dyelir
29
Sorry, the old Justin can’t get the phone right now. Why? Because he’s dead.
Feb 2, 2018
20
Nice album Bruno Mars, you'll get next year Grammy
Feb 2, 2018*
Z.Younk
29
Well its nice to have a stand-out worst-aoty so early on, at least.
Feb 2, 2018*
pouls
29
Justin Timberlake's comeback album after five years just so happens to be a strong contender for one of the worst albums of the year.

Although I've never been a fan of Justin Timberlake's music in the past, I can still respect him as being a rather ambitious pop artist. He's not the most revolutionary artist in mainstream pop, but he's respectable enough for how his ambition makes him stand out from the rest. His music sounds huge, expansive, and urgent, even more than most of his ... read more
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Track List
  1. Filthy
  2. Midnight Summer Jam
  3. Sauce
  4. Man of the Woods
  5. Higher Higher
  6. Wave
  7. Supplies
  8. Morning Light (feat. Alicia Keys)
  9. Say Something (feat. Chris Stapleton)
  10. Hers (Interlude)
  11. Flannel
  12. Montana
  13. Breeze Off the Pond
  14. Livin' Off the Land
  15. The Hard Stuff
  16. Young Man


Added on: January 2, 2018