Archive for February, 2007

Oh, the sexy has been BROUGHTEN

February 7, 2007

Hehehehehehehe, OMG, you guys, OMG OMG OMG—Ariel and I saw Justin Timberlake last night and he is the AWESOMEST!!!!!!!!

No wonder my father thinks I’ve lost my damn mind.

To be fair, it wasn’t just my dad. I got one of two reactions whenever I told people I was attending the Justin Timberlake Futuresexybacklovesoundstravaganza tour when it rolled through Boston: they either cocked their heads and said, “Really? You’re going to a Justin Timberlake show?” or threw themselves upon me in supplication. (Quoth Katy C’est Panisse: “Why wouldn’t you go? He’s your GOD.”) The former reaction is likely attributable to the cosmic irony that, while I have always been an eclectic lover of music with a special Velveeta-clogged spot in my heart for pop, at the precise age when I should have cared the most, I could have given a rat’s flying ass about New Kids on the Block. Yes, I had an unholy love for Kevin of the Backstreet Boys, and I profess more than a little affection/familiarity with the stylings of Mr. JT in his N’SYNC days; and I cannot contain the urge to dance like a little freak every time I hear Britney Spears’s “Toxic.” But the one time I went batshit insane for a boy band, it was for the Beatles. I can respect myself in the morning forever for that.

So why now? Why, when I can round my age to 30 (gasp!), is the mere thought of going into an arena of screaming teenage girls, the likes of which I never was, to watch a goofy white boy sing and dance not only plausible but outrageously appealing? Allow me to present my case to the jury.

Exhibit A
Futuresex/Lovesounds, the album, is really, really freaking good. First off, I mean, Timbaland, hello—dude’s responsible for 10 out of 12 of the most ear-catching beats in the past five years. JT made the career move of a lifetime hitching his wagon to that star (and vice versa, really). What they came up with when they put their fuzzy heads together owes more to German industrial techno than it does to the heyday of Lou Pearlman—it’s the hip hop/pop-soul album Nine Inch Nails never got around to recording. You best believe I’m not even exaggerating. It takes some seriously awesome grooves for me to overlook—nay, to celebrate—grammar such as follows, from this album’s Britney-you-broke-my-heart-and-I-hate-you single, “What Goes Around”:

You cheated girl
My heart bleeded girl
So it goes without saying
That you left me feeling hurt
Just a classic case
A s-s-scenario
Tale as old as time
Girl you got what you deserved

Bam! Bitch goes down! Who has TIME for the correct verb tense when Justin’s heart was ‘bleeded’? Incidentally, especially as a former Mousketeer, JT should well know that the actual ‘tale as old as time’ is the love between a beauty and a beast, not the love between a former pop star turned all-around entertainment monolith and a former pop star turned sad, sad hosebeast. …Oh wait.

Exhibit B
Spectacle, people. When I see a show in an arena, I don’t want to see a lone man or woman get all strummy strummy la la on a guitar. I want to see Bono dry-hump a weeping fan wearing a ‘Baby light my way’ t-shirt she made at home with her Bedazzler. I want to hear twenty thousand fans sing every single word to “Piano Man” while Billy Joel essentially keeps time. And I most certainly want to see Justin Timberlake revolving slowly in the middle of a laser show professing his enthusiasm for shackles and enslavement, and asking to be lightly punished should he misbehave.

Because this time in history, for the human being known as Justin Timberlake—this is the flashpoint of his spectacle. If I ever have kids, they will think it is so SO unbelievably cool that I saw Justin Timberlake’s Futuresex/Loveshow (or maybe not, my kids will more likely come out of the womb with a predilection for antisocial behavior and/or LARPing). Yes, JT is most certainly having a moment, and as the New York Times rather amusingly concluded, so is much of the free world—and not who you’d expect! ™—right along with him. To wit: “Believe it or not…Justin Timberlake has some major fans in the anarchist punk community.”

The show itself is 360 degrees of spectacle: of movable stairs and stages and pianos, giant projector scrims, fog machines, dancers with noticeably healthy physiques, and one totally awesome big dude of a backup singer who had, as Ariel put it, two grooving speeds: slow, and slightly less slow. When Timbaland and JT prowl the stage during the brain-jarring, sternum-vibrating finale, their joyful consciousness of what they have wrought upon the world is palpable—whatever it means exactly, whether it ever went away to begin with, wherever we go from here—doesn’t matter: the sexy, she is back.

Yet all of this caused me to feel a rush of big-sisterly concern (I’ve got a year and twenty-one days on the kid)—Justin Timberlake is kicking pop culture’s ass, and good on him a thousand times over, but he’s high enough right now for the fall to break every bone in his body. I’m just sayin’: I’ve grown very fond of you, JT. Be careful.

Exhibit C
He played a keytar.

….I know!

Toward the end of “Sexy Ladies,” suddenly, there they were: three glorious specimens in their natural element, jamming together, and then there was only Justin Timberlake wailing on his keytar like he was the Eddie Van Halen of synthpop. As I watched Justin join the rich tradition of keytar players, from Edgar Winter to Jan Hammer, Ben Folds to John Tesh, I had a strange and beautiful feeling. I can only imagine it was akin to what the de Medicis felt seeing Michelangelo pick up a hammer and chisel for the first time: overcome by the sheer awe of the instant wherein an artist is united with the perfect tool through which he will best express his craft.

Yes, there is some irony in the above paragraph. But not as much as you might think, o ye jaded self-identifying hipsters as suggested by the NYT. All Justin Timberlake asked for—all he wanted—was for me to be his love, and for me to not give away (his love). Which he is, and which I won’t. *Sigh*

Ariel moments before we cut the fence and stowed away on the Futuresex/Lovebus.

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