Justin Timberlake covers the the Fall 2013 issue of the New York Times’ T magazine. What a strange cover. He looks like some bizarre hybrid of contemporary Brad Pitt and early 1990s George Michael. That’s just too funky for me. The entirety of the photoshoot is made up of Justin either not looking at the camera or hiding part of his face. You know, like it hurts to look at things (credit to Angela Chase).
I don’t know why Justin is posing in such an elusive manner in this shoot. I’m sure it’s something artistic that I wouldn’t understand, so let’s move onto the interview. T Mag seems particularly enthused about Justin’s stature as an enduring entertainer. I was also impressed at the finesse with which he accepted his MTV Video Vanguard award late last month.
At age 32, Justin has already spent two decades in the entertainment industry. He began at age 11 on the Mickey Mouse Club, and he’s still going. Not that he’s going particularly well, mind you. I feel like JT really phoned it in with his latest album. Words can’t even begin to describe how disappointed I am in The 20/20 Experience, which is JT’s first record in seven years. I really loved FutureSex/LoveSounds and still listen to it, but both “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors” seem so bland and homogeneous in comparison. Let’s do some excerpts:
On his longevity: “I know that I’m still young, but I’ve been in this business two-thirds of my life and you just learn that some things are accepted the way you hope and some aren’t.”
On 20/20: “You get to this point, which I’ve done in the last five or six years, where you become less worried about success and failure. I’m sure there’s some self-help cheese-ball book about the gray area,” he says, “but I’ve been having this conversation with my friends who are all about the same age and I’m saying, ‘Y’know, life doesn’t happen in black and white.’ The gray area is where you become an adult . . . the medium temperature, the gray area, the place between black and white. That’s the place where life happens.”
Why did he make this record? “If you can answer the question of why you’re doing it, it’s the right thing to do. To answer the question ‘Why?’ for the first time in my career, is: because I wanted to.”
On the changing music biz: “A lot of people in our biz want to write songs that people want to hear and make movies that people want to see, but if the medium is changing at such a rapid pace, the question is, How do you do that?” Technology, he says, has jammed so much newness into the culture that culture has not figured out how to respond yet. As a result, “There’s not as much substance” in music.”
He’s such an artist: “I try to talk to people about how much acting goes into music. How much of a character goes into what you put on stage. You ever sit down with Jay? He’s not the guy he is on stage. I’m not the guy I am on stage. I am a performer. It’s an elevated idea.”
[From T Magazine]
Justin might be a very successful musician, but he sure as hell is one frustrated actor. That’s what he really wants to do — act. Before you accuse me of being rough on Justin, this is the guy who stated a few months ago, “My music career hangs over me like a cloud.”
Poor JT. Forced to make millions from a second-choice career. He’s so embarrassed that he can’t even show his face to the camera.
Photos courtesy of T Mag