Justin Timberlake – The Beginning
Justin Timberlake began his music
career in the boy band ‘N Sync, formed in 1995,
launched in Germany by BMG Ariola Muinch, and
financed by Lou Pearlman. Timberlake was the
youngest member of the group.
The group had 5 albums in total, *NSYNC (1997),
Home for Christmas (1998), The Winter
Album(1998), No Strings Attached (2000), and
Celebrity (2001). The group were nominated for 8
Grammy Awards. Many of the songs from the
group’s albums made it to the top five in the charts
and some of the songs made it to number one,
including It’s Gonna Be Me.
After the tour of their album Celebrity, the group
decided to take a break from the music industry and
planned to continue in September of that year,
however, Timberlake wanted to focus on his solo
career so it was postponed. They released a
Greatest Hits album, but they never made more
music and never got back together.
Justin Timberlake – Solo career
After the split of ‘N Sync, Justin Timberlake pursued
his solo career with first album Justified (2002) and
then FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006). His songs went
to number one, his albums sold over seven million
copies worldwide and he was known as a successful
solo artist. He was known as one of the most
commercially successful artists around at the time.
From 2007 Timberlake decided to focus on his acting
career and took a break from his singing career.
However, in 2013 Justin Timberlake released his
brand new album The 20/20 Experience and The
20/20 Experience: 2 of 2. It became one of the best
selling albums of the year so far.
Over his musical career, Timberlake has been
awarded six Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards.
Surprisingly, when you first go onto Justin Timberlake’s official website, we aren’t
bombarded with pictures of himself, instead welcomed with a letter from Timberlake
giving exciting news about his album and referencing upcoming music. The colour
scheme is dark background with white writing, bringing your attention to the content
rather than a distraction of promotional images. There is a link attached to the letter,
giving fans an insight to the recording, letting them know what is happening all the
time. The homepage frequently changes as he releases new videos, for example,
he would usually have the most recent music video to greet website viewers.
Link to trailer of newest film,
self promotion. Showing
audience that he is still making
films, not just limited to making
of himself, next to a car
he is wearing a suit
the car looks expensive,
shows that he is more
mature and fashionable.
Link to the VMA
voting poll, encouraging fans to
vote for him and he’s trying to
make sure he wins. Shows that he
wants to be recognised and to make
his work be acknowledged.
tour and promoting
it in order to get the
tickets sold to his
fans, he is promoting
Promoting the most
version of his album.
Has an option to listen to music
whilst on the website,
which gives fans an
opportunity to listen
to a fragment of his
album. Which may end
up in them purchasing
the whole album.
wants to keep the
fans updated constantly.
Different links available
for fans to have access
to and to keep them
updated and have
opportunities to buy
Justin Timberlake is very self promotional, each of his links from his website homepage includes
an image of himself, either promoting his album/tour/film or what he’s currently up to. It’s
made obvious from his use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,
he likes to keep his fans updated and constantly entertained. He definitely aims most of this to
his current fans and there is only ever a small link in the corner, encouraging new fans to join.
Justin Timberlake is always the main
focus of his album covers, however,
the more recent they get, the less
you can actually see his face. Justified
shows his full face and then gradually
it builds to the most recent, 20/20
Experience, where he has eye test(?)
covers over his eyes/face. Which
relates to the title of 20/20.
There is a theme of the colour white,
the text for his name on Justified, the
background for FutureSex/LoveSounds
and then again for the first edition of
The 20/20 Experience. For the extended
edition of The 20/20 Experience, the
colour was changed to gold, signifying
a more quality album and maybe it
suggests that the album did well as the
colour gold is usually associated with
Justin Timberlake’s design
for the tracklisting on the
back of his albums follow
pretty much the same
design as the album
artwork. For example,
the FutureSex, LoveSounds
tracklisting, the background
is plain and there is only the
return of the discoball from
the front cover on the
design. Keeping it plain
and simple. This shows
that there was an intended
pattern on the albums and
that he wanted them to
look as good on the back
as they do at the front.
Justin Timberlake’s newest album promotion wasn’t
as overly flashy and overdone. His reference to
single Suit & Tie in the promotional images were
obvious and he reused the plain background for his
new album promotion, as we can see in these two
examples with white background. His poses and his
suits make him the centre of attention and shows
that he is the main selling point.
Music Video Analysis – Suit & Tie
Released February 14th 2013. Directed by David Fincher
The opening shots show Timberlake
actually making his music and showing
that he lives quite a glamorous lifestyle.
The music video is completely black and white, bringing the focus completely onto the content
of the video and the performance. The fact that it was a first video released for a few years, it
is very well thought into and is good quality. The lyrics and visuals begin to relate to each other
as the music video progresses…
All of these shots show that there is definite reference to the song title ‘Suit & Tie’ as he is
frequently seen wearing them, making him the centre of attention and the main focus of
the whole video even though he is surrounded by other people. He looks sophisticated and
the setting is very glamorous and expensive. The fact that it’s black and white, and sings “all
pressed up in black and white” shows a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals. The
use of lighting also emphasises that he is the one to be focused on and he is the most important
In these very frequent shots, we see
Justin Timberlake surrounded by other
men also in suits and ties…
However, they are seen to be performing more
like a pop music video as they are all doing
the same dance routine and they
are all in time and are pristine.
However they look more suave and
classy in suits whilst doing this
rather than the usual cheesy pop
The in sync dance routine also applies
to the women seen later on in the video
as they dance/pose at the same time
in sync with the music and each other.
Showing that although it looks classy, it
is still a pop music video.
These shots show examples of references and they are referencing the making of the actual
song in the music video as the orchestra is seen in a recording studio and so is Timberlake.
Making it obvious that the video is more of a performance video than a narrative.
Also, there is a relationship between lyrics and visuals during the video (top right image) as
he sings “show you a few things” he counts using his fingers ‘a few’.
The whole video is actually set up to look as if it was quite old and vintage as it is all in black
and white, there is a use of a big orchestra which includes jazz trumpets and also by the clothes
worn by both performers and the audience in the video. The actual sound of the trumpets in
the song contributes to this because the instrumental of the song does sound like it could be
quite an old fashioned song (until the main beat kicks in). Throughout the whole video, there
are so many close ups of Justin Timberlake, which shows that he brings in the audience and
also it doesn’t completely follow the pop music genre characteristics besides from the dance
Justin Timberlake’s image of being a pop artist is consistent throughout his music video,
website and album covers due to his style, his effort to keep fans entertained and his
on-going theme of not being too over the top and in your face. His colour palette is quite
plain and he promotes himself and doesn’t change himself too much, as we have seen that
through his album covers. He is extremely mainstream and this could have something to do
with his long career in the music business and his success in both the film and music industry.