Freed from the rigours of commercial pop’s factory floor, Justin Timberlake concocts a solo debut that manages to—somehow—be both drum-tight and boundlessly inventive. Of course, Justified is also a monument to the bottled-lightning production of The Neptunes (the earthy snap of “Señorita”, the glistening, space age funk of “Rock Your Body”) and Timbaland (layered, percussive alchemy on “Cry Me a River” and “Right for Me”). But those sumptuous beatscapes would be nothing without the focal point of Timberlake’s MJ-worthy falsetto, emancipated swagger and full-beam star power.

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