It looks like the Gods of early 2000’s R&B have finally awoken to answer our collective prayers. Destiny’s Child and Justin Timberlake rocked the boats of music blogs last week when they both announced their first batch of new music since 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Destiny’s Child will see Beyonce returning to work with Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland for Love Songs, a compilation of the groups most notable, well, love songs, to drop on January 29. Timberlake, on the other hand, announced “The 20/20 Experience,” an album of completely new material due sometime later this year. Classes of 2002-2008 all over the world simultaneously fainted upon hearing the news.
Never the types to keep us waiting (unless you count that whole eight year musical lacuna thing), both camps offered up a recent teaser of what’s to come.
Destiny’s Child released “Nuclear,” a track that puts Pharrell back behind the board and serves as Love Songs’ sole original track. Last night, JT dropped “Suit & Tie,” reuniting the singer-turned-actor-turned singer with long-time collaborator Timbaland. So, great! We can get back to more Survivors and Justifieds, right?
Not exactly. “Nuclear” is absent of the string-blasts and snare rides that made bangers like “Soldier” and “Bills, Bills, Bills” so much fun, nor does it share the R & B grooves of tracks like “Say My Name.” Instead, it plods lazily on Pharrell’s beachy synths, blending the three voices into one indistinguishable croon. It’s by no means a bad song, but one can’t help but wonder how strange it would have sounded had it debuted on Destiny Fulfilled.
Justin, definitely the more experimental of the two acts, graced us with a codeine-dripped take on an amalgamation of disco and R Kelly, and thankfully, it works ever so well. “Suit & Tie” chops and screws itself, flipping between something close to what we might expect the former N’SYNC star to produce after Futuresex and a drugged-out anthem for 3:00 AM.
There are a couple of cringe-worthy lines (we know why it’s called a fatty, Justin) and, though he does kill it as usual, Jay-Z’s presence does actually seem a bit obligatory. But there are no Neptunes fills, no vocal stairs, and (thank God) no beat-boxing.
So what does this mean for the 90’s babies? We’ve made nostalgia our top priority, and as we attempt to pass 2012 through an Instagram filter so we can rightly discuss it alongside Pogs and old Nickelodeon cartoons, we demand that a return to our joyous youth in the form caliber of a Justin Timberlake/Destiny’s Child comeback that better stay the hell away from change.
But here we are, struggling to choke down two new songs from two of our old favorites, and frankly, neither tracks are anything close to what we would have expected. That’s not to say, however, that we won’t come to understand to their interpretation of modern music and welcome back their creativity with open arms.
Maybe these comebacks will serve as a lesson to us all as we adjust our ears for 2013 – let’s all do our best to look forward instead of behind us, because if one thing’s for sure, neither JT nor our three favorite divas are showing any sign of slowing down.
Christian Craig | Elite.