Fans may not know how to feel about it, but no one can deny that it's dang near impossible to stop watching Justin Timberlake's new video. Twitter has been split about whether Timberlake's "Filthy" is actually good since its release on Jan. 5, but one thing's for sure: It certainly has people talking. In his debut video off his upcoming Man of the Woods album (dropping Feb. 2), Timberlake takes a complete departure from anything he's done in his 25-year career. The futuristic video shows an AI robot performing in front of a large crowd, mimicking choreography (and eventually, sex gestures) Timberlake simultaneously does off stage. It's definitely... different. There's good feedback, ugly feedback, and most of all, confusion.
When Timberlake announced his surprise album on Jan. 2, he did it with an earthy teaser trailer showing the artist alone and grounded in nature. In the video, he explained that the album would be a connection to his roots and inspired by his family. "This album is really inspired by my son, my wife, my family, but more so than any other album I've written, where I'm from... it's personal," he says. "It feels like mountains, trees, campfires. Like Wild West — but now."
This alone has fans confused because the trailer messaging and the first music video couldn't be more of a paradox.
There are also tons of people who are clear on how they feel about the song and video: not good. Whether it be criticizing the funky-techno sound, strange video, or polarizing lyrics (like "haters gonna say it's fake"), these Twitter users are making their opinion known.
They really didn't feel the need to hold back.
But on the other hand, tons of fans are supporting Timberlake and his new sound, counting down the days until he performs at the Super Bowl. Some have applauded the artist for moving away from the mainstream and commercial vibe of "Can't Stop the Feeling!" and others have tipped their hat to him for channeling the late iconic singer Prince.
While audiences are certainly split on the video, some people suggest it's actually enhanced their experience of the song.
There's so much to unpack from the new video, and whether people like it or not, it's given the internet tons to discuss in the short 11 hours since it's been released.
For one, there's the "haters gonna say it's fake" line, which people are also split on. Some have given it a solid high five, and others have mocked it. For example, dlisted.com criticized these "Filthy" lyrics and their place in the video, saying, "Justin spends so much time reassuring the listener that while his haters will say he’s fake when he is, in 'fact', real... Maybe he’s being ironic, maybe he has no clue." Because that line is getting such a reaction, it's already created a wave of new memes. Mostly, internet users are editing short, funny videos to make seemingly impossible things happen and are captioning them with the lyrics.
Others have pointed out the obvious similarities between Timberlake and the late Steve Jobs in the video. In "Filthy," Timberlake dons Jobs' iconic glasses and black turtleneck, playing an inventor who's eagerly revealing his latest creation to the world. This in itself has people torn. Some even call it a "ripoff."
Others want more:
Man of the Woods is Timberlake's first album in five years, and it's already clear that people will take the time to pick apart and analyze every single part of it. But no matter what the internet says, it looks like Timberlake will proudly be standing by his new work.
And that's what makes him a true innovator and artist.