On Thursday, Justin Timberlake released “Supplies,” his second single and accompanying video from the upcoming album Man of the Woods. Unfortunately for anyone hoping the track would follow the album promo’s initial ripped-from-an-Eddie Bauer-catalog aesthetic, the provisions Timberlake sings about are not of the ax and rugged waterproof hiking boots variety. (Though he does at one point wear flannel!) Instead, JT and his ensemble wield flashlights and molotov cocktails in a crumbling, futuristic urban society over a Neptunes-produced beat that sounds like it came straight out of Atlanta.
The video opens with Timberlake, eyes glazed, sitting in front of a stack of television screens, all of them tuned in to some horrifying real-life news footage emphasizing the swift decline of our nation—“Me Too” signs, the names of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, our Commander-in-Chief. (JT’s woke!) The lyrics and images that follow tell the story of the singer meeting a hot woman on Broadway who can’t seem to shake a clingy ex—thankfully, Timberlake isn’t like that former lover, he’s a “generous lover” who wants to know everything about her, per the song’s bridge. (So woke.) He’ll “be the light when you can’t see” and, in a clumsily rustic-erotic way, “the wood when you need heat.”
The entire conceit is bizarrely and incoherently rendered, from the levitating umbrellas to the Illuminati symbolism to the little kid at the very end staring into the camera and telling someone (us?) to “Just leave! Die already!” Somewhere mixed up in all of this is probably supposed to be a message about the dangers of greed, misogyny, and racism, but sexy. Or something. If “Filthy” is an uninspired “SexyBack” retread, “Supplies” is Timberlake’s very own “Chained to the Rhythm”—unabashedly earnest in its attempt at social commentary, and utterly embarrassing.
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