This year, when I sat down to watch the Super Bowl, I was expecting two things: a decent game and a memorable halftime show. I was pretty excited, especially knowing that the halftime performer was Justin Timberlake. He’d been out of the limelight for a good bit, so I was excited to see what he had in store.

His performance wasn’t awful. I was definitely entertained during it, and I genuinely enjoyed watching him dance and perform, but it wasn’t a lasting performance. It was even a little boring. I knew that by the time the next Super Bowl rolled around, I would struggle to remember who performed the year before, and that’s not something you want out of a halftime performance.

The performance succeeded in showcasing all of Timberlake’s greatest hits, and it established that he has had an impact on pop music the last 15 years. But the show almost aged him for me I couldn’t see a place for him in pop music’s future.

This feeling first emerged a couple days before the show, when I sat down to listen to his new album, “Man of the Woods.” I had heard the single “Filthy” before, and it was, again, bland. Coming from an artist whose songs from years ago are still party staples, I was expecting a lot more with this new music.

The album lacks innovation. It’s not clever, it’s derivative. It’s almost like Timberlake has taken what he sees as his signature whether it’s long instrumental breaks, plethoras of innuendos or catchy hooks — and spun it with these Southern music staple sounds. The album isn’t bad, but it’s not groundbreaking. It didn’t make me feel anything. I was bobbing my head to songs, but when they finished I couldn’t remember the chorus.

This is fine for most artists being liked is enough for them to make more music. But I expect more from JT considering he’s a pop icon, I don’t think it’s excessive to want the albums he releases (that only come few and far between, reader) to be a big music moment. But instead, all I got from both his Super Bowl performance and his new album was a large amount of meh.

Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it, but after five years of waiting for his next album, it was just disappointing.

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