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On Thursday (Jan. 25), Timberlake returned with the leading single for his upcoming sixth album, Everything I Thought Thought It Was.
The Bradley Calder-directed video follows the singer as he completes a live performance. JT then exits the stage and attempts to give the perfect take. The singer makes mistakes and has to do his scenes over repeatedly. He makes his way into a small door and crawls through it until he reaches a red phone.
As he attempts to answer the phone, he’s suddenly crushed by a bigger version of himself. However, Timberlake isn’t pleased with his take and forces himself to do the scene again. Justin appears stressed out as he attempts to take a break. Following a brief breather, the multi-hyphenate returns and begins dancing at center stage.
The song itself is a R&B inspired pop track. “Selfish” was written by Timberlake, Louis Bell, Cirkut, Theron Thomas, and Amy Allen. Timberlake, Bell, and Cirkut also produced the record. JT sings about being in love with his significant other and not being ashamed of getting jealous of them.
“If they saw what I saw/They would fall the way I fell/But they don’t know what you want/And baby, I would never tell/If they know what I know/They would never let you go/So guess what?/I ain’t ever lettin’ you go,” he sings in his signature register.
In an official press release, Timberlake detailed the song’s backstory, stating that he wanted to tackle a topic that a lot of men, including himself, try to run from.
“We were talking about the song itself and just breaking down the idea that you just don’t hear that from men often, that they would express an emotion that makes them vulnerable. And then, growing up the way I grew up, you’re taught not to do that. But I don’t know, it just felt like a really honest song.
“The lyrics just started to come out honestly. And when I listened to the whole album, I felt like it’s probably, of all the songs on the album, production-wise, probably the most straightforward, and I don’t want to say simple because it’s complex within its simplicity to me.”
JT also detailed the significance behind his album title. He explained that the musicality is returning back to what his fans and the world know him for. After taking a hard left with Man of the Woods, Timberlake appears to be returning to what made him a star.
“I think that’s where I came up with the album title, with everything I thought it was,” he expressed. “I was playing it for people around me. They’re like, ‘Oh, this sounds like everything we know you for.’ And then another friend of mine was like, ‘Oh, this sounds like everything I thought I wanted from you.’ It was like that sort of phrase, in one way or another, was in the air. And I thought to myself about how some of the songs are more introspective and some of them are more what I think people know me for.”
JT’s new album, Everything I Thought It Was, is set to release on March 15. Watch the video for “Selfish” above.
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