Justin Timberlake's Comeback Starts in Two Days—Can He Conquer R&B Again?

JT's return to music is imminent, can he kick young guys like The Weeknd and Bryson Tiller off the R&B/Pop throne he once occupied?
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JT's return to music is imminent, can he kick young guys like The Weeknd and Bryson Tiller off the R&B/Pop throne he once occupied?

Back when Bieber was an actual baby and Jay Z was still single and free to mingle with Becky with the good hair, the biggest name in music was Justin Timberlake. But a decade after FutureSex/LoveSounds and three years since The 20/20 Experience, the former boy band heartthrob's place in the current music pantheon is far less clear. 

You might want to break out that "Suit & Tie" because it looks like Justin is ready to bring sexy back...again. When I was writing about The Weeknd today, I happened to see an unexpected name pop up during Abel's new Vogue interview. The interview begins in a California studio where The Weeknd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are recording, but there's one more notable name that's apparently also in music making mode. 

In the kitchen, Justin Timberlake is fixing his own tea, while a whiteboard indicates that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are recording down the hall. And in the cavelike studio where I meet Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, the walls of flickering electronics resemble a supercomputer.

It wasn't much and at the time I was focused on The Weeknd, but my brain must have been N'Sync with the universe because just a few hours later Timberlake tweeted:

Well damn then, apparently it's time for us to officially freak the fuck out. 

JT's been hinting that new music's in the pipeline via his Instagram page for weeks now - this picture of him and The Weeknd suddenly makes perfect sense - but this is the first solid date we've seen on a new music release yet. We know Timbaland's involved again, we know Pharrell's involved again, we know the album might even have some country music on it, and we know he's been working as a producer for the Trolls major motion picture soundtrack, but any other firm details are currently a giant question mark. That changes this Friday with the release of new single, "Can't Stop The Feeling."

Between Drake, Bieber, Tiller and The Weeknd, the fight for the Pop/R&B throne currently looks like an episode of Game of Thrones. Can a now much older Timberlake take on the new generation he paved the way for? We’ve seen what age can do to Dre, Em, Kanye, and Jay; will father time finally catch up with JT, or will he be able to catapult himself right back onto center stage, as he did with the 20/20 Experience?

The answer is right around the corner.

Justin Timberlake