There’s Room For More Than One Blue-Eyed Soul Singer, So Stop Saying Justin Timberlake Is Copying Robin Thicke
When Justin Timberlake announced his return to music, no one really knew what to expect. However, it seems that the majority of people seemed to think he would be bringing sexay back just like the good old days…that somehow, in the course of seven years, he couldn’t possibly have grown up at all. With that being said, I’ve come up with three reasons why Justin Timberlake may appear to be copying Robin Thicke, when in actuality he is NOT copying Robin Thicke.
First of all, anyone who knows anything about Justin Timberlake’s history in music knows that Justin Timberlake has always had some soul or R&B flavor, even back when he was in ‘N Sync. However, within the constraints of a pop boy band like ‘N Sync was not able to express it. It was only until the Celebrity album that Timberlake was able to write three songs, two of which became some of ‘N Sync’s most “urban” songs to date, Girlfriend, and Gone. This is when we started to see his strong use of falsetto, and his use of R&B style runs and ad-libs. By Timberlake’s first solo album Justified, we saw drastic increases in his use of falsetto, and even some obvious Michael Jackson influences. The use of R&B-sounding runs were in abundance on this album; however, because of the fact that this was Justin Timberlake’s first solo album there was still under pressure from the record company, and thus he had to create a more pop album.The same was true for FutureSex/LoveSounds. Fast forward seven years to today with Justin Timberlake now being a successful actor and entrepreneur, and having taken seven years off from music, it’s quite obvious that JT is simply making music now because he misses it and without having anything to prove, we now have the sound that is The 20/20 Experience.
The next possible reason for similarities in styles is a reason that Robin Thicke himself actually came up with. While speaking to VIBE TV, Thicke spoke about “Suit & Tie,” and why the two of them appear to have similar style.
“I like the song; the thing about Justin and I is that we’re inspired by a lot of the same singers, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder …so when you’re inspired by the same masters, sometimes you’re gonna make certain songs that sound alike but I like the record. It grooves.” - Robin Thicke
I’m sure some of you are probably thinking that “obviously Robin Thicke has to say something like that because he wouldn’t dare say that Justin Timberlake is copying him.” However, before you go passing judgment, perhaps I should remind you exactly why this is a very plausible reason. Justin Timberlake is originally from Memphis, yes, that’s right, the home of some of history’s most soulful music. In that case, it is very possible that Justin Timberlake would be influenced by the same sort of sound that Robin Thicke has been influenced by.
Justin Timberlake may also be adopting a mature sound because he might just actually be more mature. Can you believe it? After 7 years, and a brand new marriage, he might have actually just grown up? Older people tend to listen and prefer more mature sounding music, that’s just the reality of the situation. In addition to that, his fans have grown up too. It might actually be an insult to his fans if he brought out new material that sounded more like Justin Bieber or Chris Brown. Sure Usher did it by selling out his urban R&B style and adopting the sounds of the younger generation, but with Justin Timberlake making a lot of money as an actor, he doesn’t need to adapt to the changing music industry. In fact, he can make whatever type of music he likes, hence why we have his current sound…a sound that Robin Thicke did NOT invent, a sound that not only one white male is allowed to have.
***NOTE: I am a fan of both Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake and have nothing against Robin Thicke in anyway.