Future Sex/Love Sounds

Of course it’s good. Of course it’s going to sell enough copies to keep the record industry in the black for 2006. And, if you play your cards right, Future Sex/Love Sounds will probably get you laid.

This, we know. But there’s more to Justin Timberlake’s second solo effort than just the platinum that is going to get thrown around in his name. Teamed up again with super producer Timbaland, Timberlake comes back to affirm his place at the top of pop music, and to let his subjects know that his reign will be long and prosperous.

After “Sexyback” hit the airwaves in July, everyone knew the second album would not be Justified, Part Two. It’s far better – Future Sex/Love Sounds> heralds his second coming (see, he even got better at titles). Justified was his coming out party after saying “bye, bye, bye” to the awful and nostalgic N*SYNC. It was a hell of a party, but ever since his single “Cry me a River,” fans couldn’t help but wonder if Timberlake was overachieving. Once you go boy band, you don’t go back, right? But the release of Future Sex/Love Sounds puts those concerns to bed.

The new record is a bloodless coup on pop music. With four songs for the club (“Sexyback,” “My Love,” “Chop Me Up” and “Summer Love”), two for the bedroom after the club (“Damn Girl” and “All Over Again”) and one for the Zach Braff-style mix disc you make your hook-up the day after (“What Goes Around”), Future Sex/Love Sounds comes with everything you need to throw a party except the fog machine.

“My Love” sucks listeners in early on with that keyboard loop custom-built for the dance floor. Timberlake begs his lady in between his beat boxing to let him in her life. Timberlake’s love note gets back-up with help from a friend. T.I. spends his guest appearance praising Timberlake to let the woman know what she’s missing if she doesn’t at least give the man a chance. By the time this makes it to print, “My Love” might already be huge and overplayed, but fear not: it’s not the only track that will be a sure thing to get hips shaking in Campustown.

The last party slayer to crack the dance floor can be found in “Summer Love.” Timberlake gets as dirty as you always wanted to be: “Well Imma freak you right/each and every night/I know how to do it insane girl/’cause I can make it hot, make it stop make you wanna say my name.” Shakespeare he ain’t, but singing those lines-just like in “Senorita”-will unleash the hounds on a Saturday night. The background claps and stomps are so instinctively instructive-just like in “Senorita”-that this is a cut to send off the whole party right before afterhours start.

There’s a bunch of other songs on Future Sex/Love Sounds that could have a hand in kicking up the birthrate for Champaign County next year, which is why this record will stand the test of time. It’s that hot. Timberlake’s newest record is a coronation, and the second piece of his pop legacy that is far from complete. He’s already remade himself from the

cardboard cutout imposter of a musician into a real artist. He’s cemented his place in music as the hottest hipster sexpot in the land. All that’s left is the tour (of the kingdom). Long live the King.

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