30 March 2007

Justin Timberlake, anyone?

I wrote this on a bit of a deadline, so I by no means have anything formal worked out in my head, this is just something I have been thinking about this week. So here goes. Justin Timberlake.

Last night, a magazine treated a media agency to seeing Justin Timberlake play at the Continental Airlines Arena in Jersey. I happen to work and be friends with the boyfriend of one of the girls attending (Lucy). He would have rather died than attend this concert with Lucy, I think, so he asked me to go in his place.

After a short but very sweet opening by Pink (one that involved crazy Cirque du Soleil-style tricks), Justin Timberlake wowed us for two and a half hours. Literally wowed. At least he wowed me. He danced (like liquid), he sang (well), he smacked girls' butts, he played the piano, the keytar and the acoustic guitar. He also lept huge distances between the different levels of the stage. It was a literal show. a full-on, well-rounded, bang-up performance.

Something interesting happened the night before I went. Almost every single person I told about the concert was excited and jealous. My elitist-as-f*ck musician/producer/mixer/hipster friend. My no-nonsense, perfectionist business professional coworker. And if they weren't excited, they would at least raise a curious eyebrow. Nobody had a single bad thing to say about Justin Timberlake.

Why in this case does a hipster respect the same thing as a hip-hop fan? As a fifteen year-old girl? As a middle-aged man? As me? What is it about this guy. So I asked some people.

Heron Preston, urban culture maven extraordinaire : "He's kind of a regular guy, has sexy girlfriends. He's not a whack dude, like, he's cool."

Kate Ferris, preppy girl meets New York City : "He really seems to be original and good in writing his own kind of music as opposed to the boy band Justin Timerlake."

Dylan Trees, folk musician : "I like his producers. Timbaland is a huge genius. The textures, the rhythms."

So. Is it because he's a renaissance man? Is it because he is very down to earth and humble? His voice is genuinely good? He has found his own path throughout his lengthy career? Timbaland is an incredibly talented producer? All of these things together? Who knows, but he's doing SOMETHING right so that he maintains his street cred after playing a keytar.
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