1. Imagine that you could warp back a decade or so, to the release date and first week of No Strings Attached. I think that album sold 2.4 million copies during that first week (something like that). Questions:
a) Did anyone alive think that Justin Timberlake would still be relevant a decade later? Perhaps the question can be refined to read, did anyone alive think that Timberlake would, in 2011, be considered a respected, multidimensional, trend-setting figure? I feel like very few people were tagging him as someone with longevity.
b) Do children growing up now in the completely digital age have any sense of what it means to sell 2.4 million records? I’m 18, which gives me the slightest sense/memory of what a phenomenon the boy bands were. I suppose that it’s not very different from the Born This Way/Speak Now hype of recent years. The obvious major difference is that 2001 hype was expressed through Billboard charts and record sales, whereas 2011 hype is composed of Internet think pieces and social media conversations. 2011 hype = a lot less money (for the time being).
2. Justin Timberlake, unabashed pot smoker. He didn’t even respond with a simple “yes” to the pot question. He went with the strong “absolutely”. Young pot smokers everywhere should file that tidbit away for any potential parental confrontations, especially if their parents remember the N*Sync Christmas songs and JT’s old cornrows.
3. I found it interesting that the young man tabbed as the “Prince of Pop” ever since the commencement of his solo career unequivocally named Prince as the greatest musician who has ever lived. I don’t know if he can be named definitively as the greatest, but it appears he’s winning/has won the battle with MJ for long-term cultural relevance and reputation. They chose wildly different methods of self-sabotage: MJ went with the whole child molestation/facial reconstruction angle, whereas Prince merely released a glorious string of albums in the “mediocre-to-godawful” range from about 1992-now. I am interested to see if public consensus will continue to shift towards Prince over time.
4. Justin Timberlake likes Radiohead! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. In 2011, loudly proclaiming your love for Radiohead is about as subversive/controversial as telling people you like Nutella or puppies.
Bonus non-JT thought: I read today that Katy Perry’s first four singles from Teenage Dream have all become #1 singles. I heard “Last Friday Night” for the first time today and couldn’t help but think, “this is going to be the song of the summer for a lot of people”. (Also: remove the corny internet lyrics, and that backing track could be an especially glossy Phoenix song. Thomas Mars: write some new lyrics and get in the studio!) Is five consecutive #1 singles from the same album some sort of crazy record? I know Michael’s Bad accomplished a similar-sounding feat but I can’t remember what exactly it was. The point: Katy Perry is dominating everyone right now on a purely commercial basis, I guess.
Thoughts? Perhaps you like posts about indie music and you’re mad I spilled all these words on Timberlake and Katy Perry?