After tempting fans last week with a short video holding the promise that he’s “ready” to release new solo material—and dramatically complementing it with suggestive tweets and a three-day countdown on his website—Justin Timberlake’s new single has finally dropped. With a nice, smooth R&B groove, “Suit & Tie” finds Timberlake reteaming with producer Timbaland, bringing Jay-Z along for the ride. And Timberlake doesn’t seem to be straying too far from the music that made his initial transition to solo stardom so successful: He thankfully eschews the European electro-pop sound that has crept into the newest music of many of his contemporaries, such as Usher and Britney Spears.
As successful as he’s been as an actor—his multiple stints on Saturday Night Live have been some of the brightest moments in the show’s recent years, his turn in The Social Network was terrific—his contribution to the music world has been minimal, pared down to select cameos on other artists’ hits. It’s been over six years since his last album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, brought sexy back, and Timberlake’s return to the recording booth is welcome news that bodes well for the pop landscape in 2013.
Perhaps even more exciting than the song itself is word that much more music is on the horizon. In an open letter, Timberlake divulged that his next album, begun in June of last year, will be called The 20/20 Experience, and will arrive later this year. And while the big build-up over the last few days (and years) may have struck some critics as self-indulgent, the singer promises, “No more teasing. Although it was A LOT of fun.”