Just in case anyone was wondering, Justin Timberlake is still a bona fide pop star.
Timberlake’s new single, “Suit & Tie,” was released with a maximum amount of drama (countdown clocks! YouTube manifestos!) and, as it turns out, a maximum amount of sales: it notched the highest first-week total radio plays in the 20-year history of Billboard’s Pop Songs chart.
“Suit & Tie” places Timberlake’s falsetto front and center, next to a decent-if-sappy verse from Jay-Z, all backed by spangly Timbaland production. (Can a song shimmer and honk at the same time?)
It racked up 6,045 plays between Jan. 14 and 20, landing at No. 14 on the chart and breaking two records: it’s the highest debut for a male artist (beating out Jon Secada’s “If You Go” from 1994, if you can believe it) and it tops Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” in first-week plays by almost 2,000 spins.
And all of this for a track that very few people even knew Timberlake was recording.
JT’s movie career thus far has been fairly hit and miss, so this musical detour seems as much strategic as spontaneous. Meanwhile, FutureSex/Love Sounds fans — out in the cold since 2006 — have just months to go until the release of The 20/20 Experience.
Other good news for Timberfans? He will be performing at DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night during Super Bowl weekend — his first concert in almost five years.
For the occasion, might we suggest more horns?