Song 78: Justin Timberlake, “Damn Girl” (2006)

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The arrival of Justin Timberlake’s new album has me listening to the superb FutureSex/LoveSounds again, for the first time in ages. “Sexyback” was obviously the big single (with the awesome “Lovestoned” on its heels), but I think “Damn Girl” would have made a good sleeper hit, something to listen to in the dog days of summer when we’re all ready for something more chill than the brassy radio-friendly songs we hear earlier in the year.

This song pops in all kinds of ways, but it’s also a little hazy and mysterious. Maybe it’s that organ, which brings to mind both Booker T. and the MG’s and Vincent Price movies. I think it’s Timberlake himself who sells it, with a falsetto that somehow doesn’t come across as affected or insincere (I am not a fan of falsetto, especially in R&B). As we all know, the guy is a master showman, and this song is a perfect match for his eager-to-please personality, no matter how cool he plays it.

Also, I had no idea that the guy rapping on this song was will.i.am. Does that mean I have to give him some respect? Fine, but the Black-Eyed Peas are still on notice.

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