Justin Timberlake’s comeback single dropped Friday, and fans have mixed reviews about both “Filthy” and its sci-fi dance video.
“First I thought JT’s song new song #filthy was trash. Upon second listen I think it’s garbage,” wrote Twitter user @brantbum.
An electric-funk track designed for the dance floor, “Filthy” was produced by Timberlake, frequent collaborator Timbaland, and Danja — the same production team behind Timberlake’s 2006 smash “SexyBack.” Some fans compared the two songs.
“Same people not feeling #Filthy weren’t ready for Sexy Back either. Now it’s in their top five,” wrote @scottyarms.
“Just like “SexyBack”, #Filthy is way ahead of its time, and people will need a while to get adjusted. Expected nothing less from @only1DANJA @Timbaland and @jtimberlake,” shared @alexneidt.
But another fan, @eoghanmcdermo, was confused why Timberlake on Tuesday teased a Southern-inspired album — Man of the Woods, due Feb. 2 — that celebrates his roots and family, but instead released a music video “about a futuristic sex robot simulating an orgy.”
Directed by Mark Romanek, the clip finds the former *NYSNC heartthrob channeling the late Steve Jobs as he introduces a technological advancement to an excited audience. That advancement turns out to be a dancing robot that steals the show as Timberlake spends most of the video hidden by the side of the stage, observing the robot like he’s the mother in Mean Girls.
“#Filthy is polarizing, unique, weird, funky, & surely gonna divide a lot of people…” summed up @kbyrd2. “But I think I’m digging it.”
To his credit, perhaps Timberlake saw this coming: “Haters gon’ say it’s fake,” he sings in his new jam. “So real.”
Read on for more reactions to the single, and watch the video above.