Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Music Talk
Reload this Page >

Can someone explain to me why Justin Timberlake is so "talented"?

Music Talk Discuss music in all its forms: CD, MP3, DVD-A, SACD and of course live

Can someone explain to me why Justin Timberlake is so "talented"?

Old 09-12-07, 09:33 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 410
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Can someone explain to me why Justin Timberlake is so "talented"?

First off, this isn't a "rip on JT" post or anything. While I'm not a fan, I certainly have nothing against the guy. The first time I ever even saw him as anything other than one of faceless throng of random boy-band guys grown in pods in a lab somewhere in Orlando was when he appeared in Elton John's This Train Don't Stop video. It was a pretty cool video, and I liked him as young Elton. For whatever reason that video gave him some credibility in my eyes. Not enough credibility to actually listen to an Nsync album, mind you. But I could place the name with the face and at least assumed the guy wasn't just Jordan Knight 2.0.

So time passes and NSync busts up and Justin goes solo. He releases his first solo album that does very, very well. I can't say I've ever heard a song off it, but I know that it did well, and despite my contempt for the musical taste of the general American public, being able to launch a solo career out of the ashes of a band that seemed to think sculpted facial hair is more important than actual music is impressive. The guy's a big star.

His second album comes out, and I somehow manage to hear a song off it, Sexyback. That's an impressive feat on it's own considering my path doesn't cross the path of mainstream pop very often. But apparently that song was EVERYWHERE. Good for him. It's not my style, but I get that it's catchy as hell.

Okay, so he's had two huge albums, and some huge singles. That's pretty great. The guy is obviously smart, and he surrounds himself with talented people. But how exactly does that make him talented? I constantly see references to how amazingly talented he is, and how he's "saved" pop music or something.

SexyBack, while a catchy song, barely features him. It seems to consist of a few loops of three or four lines, repeated over and over under a massive production layer. No joke, Justin's contribution to that song could have been done over a cell phone in about twelve seconds. Despite his name on the credits as a writer and producer, does anyone really belive he wrote or produced that song? Any of his songs?

Now, I earlier referred to Elton John, who most people consider a talented guy. Elton got a whole lot of songwriting help from Bernie Taupin, and for the most part nobody holds that against him. However, EJ was a pretty talented instrumentalist, and I can't think of any of EJ's hits that could have been recorded in 12 seconds over a free Sprint mobile phone.

That being said, the guy is a good dancer, and he's been a pretty solid actor from what I've seen, so I guess that makes him talented. However, musically speaking I just don't quite get why so many people are hanging from his jock. If the guy had busted out two solo albums where he wrote most of the songs and played keyboard and guitar, I might get it.

I'd honestly be interested in anyone pointing out to me what exactly seperates him in terms of musical achievement from say Avril Lavigne? JT seems to get a whole lot more mainsteam respect, but I'm just not seeing it.

Again, no disrespect to the guy. He seems terribly charismatic, and he he's obviously got some skills. I just don't get why he's somehow something special.
Old 09-12-07, 10:00 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I'd say that he's talented, despite his dubious beginning in N*Sync, because he knows the difference between good and/or original pop music and carbon copy schlock. I realize some people will argue with me on that point, but I don't remember hearing anything quite like "Sexyback" on the radio at the time.

I don't like much in the way of commercial radio anymore, but JT gets a pass because his songs are actually good. As much as people will dog me (and him) for this, I'd say he's the equivalent right now of Michael Jackson in the late-70's/early-80's - highly listenable and fun music with a distinctive style.

Just my $.02
-ringding-
Old 09-12-07, 10:19 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 410
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DrRingDing
I'd say that he's talented, despite his dubious beginning in N*Sync, because he knows the difference between good and/or original pop music and carbon copy schlock. I realize some people will argue with me on that point, but I don't remember hearing anything quite like "Sexyback" on the radio at the time.

I don't like much in the way of commercial radio anymore, but JT gets a pass because his songs are actually good. As much as people will dog me (and him) for this, I'd say he's the equivalent right now of Michael Jackson in the late-70's/early-80's - highly listenable and fun music with a distinctive style.

Just my $.02
-ringding-
Okay, but how does any of that make -him- particularly talented? I'm not going to argue that his songs aren't good, but does that have anything to do with him in particular, or the people that wrote and produced them? Like I said, it certainly appears his contribution to SexyBack consists of a couple of lines that could easily have been phoned in. Do you really think that if Nick Lachey took his place on that particular song the result would be any different? If anything, SexyBack seems much more a testament to Timbaland's talents than to JT's, at least to me.
Old 09-12-07, 10:21 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Surrounded by idiots...
Posts: 6,990
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe he isn't.
Old 09-12-07, 10:45 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 14,431
Received 23 Likes on 15 Posts
I don't like his or his type of music at all, but I think he is talented, as a singer at least.
Old 09-12-07, 10:51 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: IN
Posts: 3,849
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
He seems like a genuinely nice guy, good sense of humor,good dresser, decent actor. As far as his music goes, I always thought he was the most talented of the sync'ers, even though to me thats not saying alot.
Talent is a tricky word, hes talented, to what degree is totally up each ones opinion.
For clubs, his music is at the top of the game, one of the best out there.
For real life listening to something that is interesting and coherent, not so great.
I have nothing against him at all. Of all those 'types', hes one of my favs.
And I must say Sexyback is a hot track, again not for day to day listening, but for clubs its top notch.
Old 09-12-07, 10:55 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 410
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by foofighters7
He seems like a genuinely nice guy, good sense of humor,good dresser, decent actor. As far as his music goes, I always thought he was the most talented of the sync'ers, even though to me thats not saying alot.
Talent is a tricky word, hes talented, to what degree is totally up each ones opinion.
For clubs, his music is at the top of the game, one of the best out there.
For real life listening to something that is interesting and coherent, not so great.
I have nothing against him at all. Of all those 'types', hes one of my favs.
And I must say Sexyback is a hot track, again not for day to day listening, but for clubs its top notch.
You know, I think it says a lot positive about JT that people like yourself or me don't -hate- him. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but really it's not. He seems to get a begrudging nod from people who generally despise the type of music he's associated with. That's worth noting I think.
Old 09-12-07, 10:56 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
DaveWadding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,910
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
The guy can sing well. He write catchy, catchy shit (notice I didnt say it wasn't fluffy for the most part, because it is, but writing catchy shit is an art). His songs about serious shit are good for the most part. He can dance. I hear that at his shows he plays instruments (don't know first hand). He's very talented.
Old 09-12-07, 11:00 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
CharlieK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,249
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
When it comes to music, I think his biggest talent is being able to know what works. His songs may not be lyrically deep, but he seems to have a good sense of what makes a hit, and not in a carbon copy way like ringding said. I think that takes a fair amount of talent to pull that off.

Add to that his dancing ability and the potential to become a pretty decent actor, and I think its safe to say he's pretty talented. Besides, wasn't he nominated for a 'Quadruple Threat' Award the other night on MTV?!? I mean, gah, how can you argue with that?!?
Old 09-12-07, 11:12 AM
  #10  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,150
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I agree with most of the posts here. Plus he seems to have a sense of humor about himself, which helps people accept him more easily than, say, Britney Spears.
Old 09-12-07, 11:15 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 4,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
He's a hell of a singer and dancer. I fall into the category of people who hate most pop music but don't hate JT.

Plus, the guy did "Dick in a Box" which earns him at least a little respect.
Old 09-12-07, 11:33 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
 
slop101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 42,516
Received 214 Likes on 150 Posts
It's all marketing - he gets marketed as being very talented, and since he doesn't out-and-out suck, people buy that he's some sort of musical prodigy, and from there, he just gets compared to "AI" type talent because that's what the gen-pop is used to now, which he is more talented than, as opposed to actual talent like a Michael Jackson or a Jimi Hendrix.
Old 09-12-07, 11:37 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Surrounded by idiots...
Posts: 6,990
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jdodd
Plus, the guy did "Dick in a Box" which earns him at least a little respect.
Old 09-12-07, 11:38 AM
  #14  
Moderator
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 71,383
Received 116 Likes on 78 Posts
Despite the grousing of Internet haters, somebody who has risen to the level that Timberlake has must possess at least some talent. Probably a lot.

BTW, I'm not a fan and don't really know anything about him or his music.
Old 09-12-07, 11:44 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
FantasticVSDoom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: No longer trapped
Posts: 11,610
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Son-volt
You know, I think it says a lot positive about JT that people like yourself or me don't -hate- him. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but really it's not. He seems to get a begrudging nod from people who generally despise the type of music he's associated with. That's worth noting I think.
See this is why I point to him as being talented... I hate this type of music, but for the life of me, I like his albums. Can't quite put my finger on what the talent is, but there is something there. Maybe its just his songs are catchy without being overly "poppy", adult without being boring or pretentious.
Old 09-12-07, 12:02 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,731
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I think his song writing skills are pretty lackluster. Some of the lyrics on his albums are groan worthy.

But I watched a bit of his HBO concert last night, and you can't do that and not see that the guy is talented. He can dance his ass off, sings pretty good, plays piano and guitar a bit, and can work a crowd (who obviously want to eat out of the palm of his hand to begin with). But still, not an easy feat. Usually concerts on TV are boring to watch, but he was very entertaining. Always doing something to keep the crowd (and the viewer) entertained. The dude has some chops.
Old 09-12-07, 12:48 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
kurupt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,027
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not really a fan of the guy (I think Usher is a better singer and dancer) but I liked his 2nd album due to the presence of Timbaland behind the boards. Something that doesn't happen too much anymore in popular music is the union of a producer and artist for an entire album. I know that Rick Rubin and a couple of other producers contributed tracks to the album, but the overall feel of album can be attributed to Timbaland's presence. But yeah, he's a good performer.
Old 09-12-07, 04:46 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: behind the eight ball
Posts: 19,404
Likes: 0
Received 69 Likes on 45 Posts
A lot of it is just hype from the MTV/E/music press machine to sell records, but the fact that he has any real musical talent at all separates him from rest of the boy band pack.
Old 09-12-07, 07:52 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
he makes fun & entertaining music. he has a good singing voice. he makes fun of himself. the ladies think he's cute.

therefore,

i have no problem with him. in fact, i really enjoy futuresexlovesounds. i think it's my guilty pleasure of the year (after nelly furtado's "loose")
Old 09-12-07, 07:54 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
DeanoBKN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 5,332
Received 8 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by boredsilly
I think his song writing skills are pretty lackluster. Some of the lyrics on his albums are groan worthy.

But I watched a bit of his HBO concert last night, and you can't do that and not see that the guy is talented. He can dance his ass off, sings pretty good, plays piano and guitar a bit, and can work a crowd (who obviously want to eat out of the palm of his hand to begin with). But still, not an easy feat. Usually concerts on TV are boring to watch, but he was very entertaining. Always doing something to keep the crowd (and the viewer) entertained. The dude has some chops.
There ya go. The guy is simply entertaining to watch. I admit I am a closet JT fan. His album, while fluff, is damn catchy and fun to listen to.
Old 09-12-07, 07:57 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Michael Corvin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 61,182
Received 457 Likes on 326 Posts
Originally Posted by Son-volt
You know, I think it says a lot positive about JT that people like yourself or me don't -hate- him. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but really it's not. He seems to get a begrudging nod from people who generally despise the type of music he's associated with. That's worth noting I think.
I agree. I hate pop music, but I don't mind JT. It's odd how that works. I think anyone who picks up any instrument or actually writes the songs gets a pass over everyone else in the genre that doesn't. Apparently he is one of the few that does contribute some, so that makes him seem like a prodigy because so few of his peers do.

If you threw his "talent" into a different genre, say rock, where the majority write and play their own shit, he would be a nobody. Possibly a very charismatic lead vocalist, but definitely not reknowned for his 'talent.'
Old 09-12-07, 08:11 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,866
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think Justin has really busted his ass at trying to distance himself from NSYNC and the teen pop era where he first rose to prominance. I think he is also a great businessman compared to some of his peers. A lot of people forget that he was part of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco because he did the smart thing and laid low for a few years. Plus, while he's always been a favorite of the stalkarazzi, he's kept his cool throughout it all (barring a few middle fingers, but who wouldn't do that to them at one point or another?) instead of becoming some Britney/Paris/Lindsay/Anna Nicole meltdown.

Musically, I think most of what is so good about his latest album can be chocked up to Timbaland. But, Justin does write his own music and actually has a hand around the studio. He cares about what his music sounds like and works hard instead of just slopping something together hoping it'll sell on his name. Album sales have been in the toilet in America the past couple years but his album has been a genuine smash, with three #1 singles to boot.

It is hard to believe it was only a few short years ago when he was seen as the lesser half when him and Britney were going out, yet Britney would kill to have her career on track the way Justin's is currently. Does this bode well for Federline's future? LOL.
Old 09-12-07, 10:22 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
mdc3000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Guelph, Ontario
Posts: 9,921
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While it's clearly not high art, I think you are intentionally trying to downplay how much input Timberlake actually has in writing his songs. There is a reason Timbaland worked with him...more than once...and for other people. While some lyrics are cheesy as hell, the guy knows what works and with the right producers, he's helped make some of the best pop music out there now... and he has a writing credit on 'dick in a box' which he didn't have to have if he didn't contribute.
Old 09-12-07, 10:42 PM
  #24  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,150
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Also, let's not forget his performance with Kylie Minogue where he hand his hands all over her ass. Gotta give him props for that.

And if I recall, the two did an awards show a few weeks later where Timberlake asked Kylie on stage, "Can I touch your ass again?" That's pretty priceless.
Old 09-13-07, 02:41 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
He played guitar onstage with the Flaming Lips at some point, albeit he was dressed in a large bear costume... ...so he can definitely play the guitar a little.
-ringding-

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.