Justin Timberlake

Photo Credit: Connor Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

When he first made his South By Southwest-related Twitter last year, Cameron Clark’s original intention was to organize the SX-chaos for his friends. As the man behind the Twitter handle with close to 10,000 followers — @CameronAtSXSW — Clark said he’s never taken Twitter seriously. 

“It’s just social media, after all,” Clark said. “It’s fun to get hyped up, to get excited about something I’m looking forward to, and to play the ‘who’s coming to South by’ guessing game.”

Clark, a 24-year-old web developer and graphic designer from Dallas, Texas, said he focuses on SXSW rumors because he likes generating excitement about the lineup. Outside of the rumor realm, Clark said he gets dozens of emails a day asking for event promotion, and doesn’t mind sharing some of them through his Twitter.

“If an event has a good lineup, if it has free stuff, or if it’s unique, then it will stand out and I’ll notice it,” Clark said. “I shy away from the people who are like ‘Hey, can you post my band’s new video?’ and stuff like that, but if someone has a showcase or party or event or whatever, I don’t mind [posting] it at all.”

To develop his predictions and interpret possible SXSW shows, Clark said he checks out artist tour schedules through hosts like Songkick or Bandsintown, searching through concerts and events happening in Texas around the time of SXSW. Aside from schedule scanning and keeping up with music industry news, Clark said he also asks around by emailing tour managers, tweeting at band members and talking to venue staffers.

“There are a few people I know who give me info about events, but it’s mostly just me doing my research and asking around,” Clark said.

Ashley Beard and Marshall Wesney of @SXSWhoa, another SXSW-rumor reporting Twitter account with over 7 thousand followers, said they also started their Twitter in order to aggregate SXSW events for themselves without flooding their personal timelines. After the Twitter account’s creation last year, Beard and Wesney gained roughly 1.5 thousand followers in the first two months. Wesney said the Twitter page was never about gaining followers, but to help attendees sort through the large amount of SX-related noise on the Internet.

“We realized you have to be smart to have fun at South by Southwest and in this day and age, Twitter provides a tool that easily trumps having lots of friends to call you and tell you what’s going on where,” Beard said. “Our mission statement is that we want everyone to have a badass time, and if you do what we’re doing, we can guarantee you will.”

While Clark was incorrect about his SXSW 2013 Kanye West prediction, he said he’s most proud of his correct Justin Timberlake prediction, which he had predicted in an article for RSVPster earlier that year.

“That was one of those ‘this will never happen, but what if’ things that actually panned out,” Clark said.

This year, Beard and Wesney have already been correct on their SX-predictions for Zedd, Capital Cities, Cee-Lo Green, Mac Miller, Skrillex, Snoop Dog and Soundgarden, amongst a few others. While they also predicted Justin Timberlake to play the conference last year, they were most let down by their prediction for Daft Punk.

“Everyone kept saying Daft Punk would perform at the Capital,” Beard said. “We were thrown off by the Random Access Memories posters found around town.”

As for this year, Clark said his favorite confirmed rumor is St. Vincent, and unconfirmed is Brand New. While he said he didn’t want to spoil anything that’s been told to him in confidence, he advised to watch out for a “something big” from Yahoo!, as well as for The Illmore, and may have confirmed one big-name celebrity. 

“I think everyone knows that Gaga is happening by now,” Clark said.

SXSW-PREDICTION/RUMOR/PARTY TWITTERS TO LOOK OUT FOR:

Cameron Clark (@CameronAtSXSW)

What to look for: An essentially constant flow of tips and confirmed rumors.

Ashley Beard and Marshall Wesney (@SXSWhoa)

What to look for: Real SXSW tips and snarky advice.

Clinton Camper (@SXSWISLIFE)

What to look for: A pretty inclusive SXSW inspired Spotify playlist and rumors.

ATXShhh (@ATXShhh)

What to look for: Free show tips and advice on #SXShoes.

RSVPster (@rsvpster)

What to look for: All the rumors and tips on which parties you actually need to RSVP for.

SXSW Partylist! (@SXSWPartyList)

What to look for: Information about all the parties you don’t have time to go to.

It’s difficult to discuss the soundtrack to “Inside Llewyn Davis” without having actually seen the film. So many important aspects of the songs, sequencing and content are often tied to their context in the film, and a viewer’s experience may be different than a listener’s. The soundtrack for the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” comes out six weeks before the film, and the Coens seem confident that the soundtrack is strong enough to stand on its own. Their assumption is not incorrect, as their collaboration with songwriter T Bone Burnett is a gentle, folksy time portal to 1960s New York. The Coens previously worked with Burnett on “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” which sold seven million copies and won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2001. 

Oscar Isaac stars as Llewyn Davis, a folk singer attempting to navigate the New York folk scene of the 1960s, and performs many of the songs on the album. Isaac does a good job, especially on the opener, a melancholy rendition of Dave Van Ronk’s “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me.” Isaac also collaborates with Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons on a cover of “Fare Thee Well,” one of two versions of the song on the soundtrack. 

Another draw to the album is the several contributions from Justin Timberlake. Timberlake makes for a fine folk singer, especially on “Five Hundred Miles,” a rousing collaboration with Carey Mulligan and Stark Sands. Timberlake also joins Mumford on “The Auld Triangle,” an oft-covered Irish standard. The concept of a Timberlake/Mumford collaboration is interesting, but it is not as enjoyable as the album’s other tracks. “Girls”’ Adam Driver also makes a hilarious guest appearance alongside Issac and Timberlake on “Please Mr. Kennedy.”

Fans of Timberlake, ’60s folk and Mumford & Sons will find a lot to like in this collection of repurposed folk tracks. But as the soundtrack to “Inside Llewyn Davis” winds down with a previously unreleased recording of Bob Dylan’s “Farewell,” it is apparent that nothing on the album comes close to capturing the spirit of those sounds as well as the actual songs do. As a result, the Dylan track feels a bit out of place on an album that likely won’t reach the same popularity “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” did years ago.

Playlist of the week: week 4

In this weekly feature, we make a playlist of some of the best and most important new songs from the week before. Each track is supplemented with a short commentary, giving a sense of why you should check them out.

HAIM – “The Wire”

HAIM is an indie-pop-meets-'90s-R&B group consisting of three sisters. Their excellent debut album, Days Gone By, begins a promising career for the trio, and standout track “The Wire” has all the trappings for a big radio hit. Their “California Sunshine” feeling bleeds through the track, making you yearn for the heat of summer (even if it was over 100 degrees). Read our review of the album here.

Lorde – “White Teeth Teens”

Lorde is on her way to take over the world, with “Royals” currently spinning on any and all Top 40 stations. Her debut album, Pure Heroine, is full of songs that will be sure to fill the radio waves in the coming months, and “White Teeth Teens” is no exception. A sort of high school outcast anthem, the confessional Lorde tells us in the end, “I’ll let you in on something big, I am not a white teeth teen, I tried to join but never did.”  Lorde’s melancholic tone suits the coming winter well.

San Fermin – “Sonsick”

The project of a 22-year-old Yale music graduate, San Fermin is heavily influenced by recent millennial baroque pop a la Dirty Projectors and Sufjan Stevens. While not very innovative, it’s one of the first bands we’ve heard that is so influenced by modern acts. “Sonsick” begins similar to Dirty Projector’s “Stillness is the Move,” but its grandiosity and excitement overtake any sense of unoriginality once the chorus kicks in.

Danny Brown – “Kush Coma”

The recently released Old from Detroit rapper Danny Brown shows him in top existential form. “Kush Coma” is a typical outlandish Brown tune, littered with lines like “My forehead’s sweaty, my eyelids heavy, feeling like I ain’t goin’ make it,” and “I’m smoking on that ocho, got my mind on that cosmos.” While Brown might fit into stereotypical rapper trappings, he’s thinking in a completely different way.

Justin Timberlake – “Tunnel Vision”

In order to wash the bad taste out of our mouths that Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience – Part 2 of 2 gave us, it’s worth remembering the gems of Part 1. “Tunnel Vision” is classic classy Timberlake, swooning over the girl he’s locked his eyes on. This is the JT we like, not the one we see on the uninspired Part 2, who has Jay Z rapping about Yoko Ono’s nether-regions alongside him.  Read our review of the disappointing sequel here.

Oneohtrix Point Never – “Problem Areas”

On experimental electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never’s new album R Plus Seven, he creates a sound that gives off the vibes of a 1980s computer. It feels almost historical, transporting us back to the pre-Twitter times of thirty years ago, when computers weren’t something we kept in our pockets. If “Windows Start-up Music” could ever be considered a genre, this is it.

Lorde – “Ribs”

Back to Lorde, this is perhaps the most non-radio friendly track on her debut. It happens to be the best song. “It drives you crazy getting old,” her bored-out voice repeats throughout the song, making us forget she’s just a 16-year-old girl. Proclaiming, “I want them back…the minds we had," Lorde yearns back to her youth – the one in which she is still living. “Wise beyond her years” is a tag that many will attribute to Lorde, and “Ribs” is evidence of this, considering it’s a more mature song than contemporaries twice her age are singing.

It was a welcome surprise when Justin Timberlake returned to music after seven years of inactivity with the delightfully retro The 20/20 Experience. The former Disney child star’s album was all grown-up, featuring a classy collection of 10 love songs written about his new wife Jessica Biel and some insanely smooth production from his longtime collaborator Timbaland. While it was later revealed by The Hollywood Reporter that the main factor behind Timberlake’s return to music was because Live Nation paid him $20 million to tour and was getting ready to ask for it back if he didn’t put out new music, at the time the album seemed like a welcome return to the spotlight. 

Now it’s six months later and Timberlake has followed up with 11 more songs, a mix of unused tracks from the last album and some new tunes. Initial reports claimed the two albums were always meant to be companion pieces, but after listening, it seems fairly obvious that The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2 is nothing more than a hyped-up collection of B-sides and throwaway tracks from a far superior record. Rather than containing the futuristic rhythm and blues sounds that drew comparisons to artists like D’Angelo and Frank Ocean, Timberlake fills 2 of 2 with cheesy, half-baked remakes of ‘70s disco songs. 

From the uninteresting soul knockoff style and highly inappropriate name of the first single “Take Back the Night” to the overstuffed, strange ode to an HBO program in “True Blood,” the whole album is a disappointment. Timberlake’s attempts to make himself sound dark and edgy on tracks like “Murder” fall completely flat, and even a solid verse from Drake can’t save him from singing embarrassing lyrics like “I got you saying Jesus like we’re laying in the manger” on “Cabaret.” 

The second single “TKO” features the kind of silky bouncing beats that would have fit in on part one, but much of the remainder of the album sounds like filler. When he does take risks, Timberlake does so by venturing into strange territory, like the awkward country-pop “Drink You Away,” in which he seems to try and pull off a Zac Brown Band effect, or the mostly acoustic and bland closer “Not A Bad Thing,” which sounds like a worse version of one of the slow ballads on an *NSYNC album. 

Overall, 2 of 2 idly wanders all over the place lacking any real sense of cohesion. This is even more disappointing given that all three of Timberlake’s latest albums have been wildly innovative and exciting. Coupled with the reports of part one being primarily recorded for contractual reasons, it feels like part two was rushed out merely to capitalize on the success of the last album and sell a million or so copies so Timberlake can finance his next five-year break from music. Hopefully he will come back with some better ideas. 

Lunchtime Links

The Daily Texan Life and Arts section is happy to complement your lunchtime break with a smattering of news from across the cultural spectrum.

Do we ever get tired of looking at beautiful pictures of Taylor Swift? No. Do we like to admit that? Maybe not. America's pop princess has taken some gorgeous pictures with Vanity Fair that are worth your time and clicks!

Kate Middleton is out and about again showing off that baby "bump." If you consider baby bumps what I look like after eating a hamburger at Hopdoddy.

John Mayer cannot keep a girlfriend, and while people blame women for these breakups, we are starting think it might be homeboy's fault that this relationship with K. Perry has just failed. Again. But really, who divorces Russel Brand?

Some people, haters, who want the rest of us to have zero fun are upset about John Hamm and his clothing on Mad Men. Apparently some people do not like that Hamm is wearing small, thin layers of fabric as short shorts. Who are these complainers?

Everyone wants to write a pope book and this is a problem for Barnes & Noble and all the other booksellers. Pope Francis is pretty cute, so we understand.

Flashback to childhood: Here's a Shel Silverstein poem.

Justin Timberlake has a new music video out for "Mirrors" because he only wants us to think about him all the time. This is a long video with a real plot and no images of Justin Timberlake shirtless, so prepare yourselves for that.

Justin Timberlake is also leaving his fashion line. Read all the articles about Justin Timberlake!

In other early 2000s news, Britney Spears is rocking this Dodgers jersey.

Throwback Timberlake Videos

Pop music's golden boy Justin Timberlake released his new album. And while I am trying my hardest to love it as deeply as I love Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, it's just not happening yet.

Here are my favorite JT songs to hold you over while you listen to The 20/20 Experience on repeat and slowly, but surely, become obsessed.

"Senorita"
This is a young, newly solo Justin Timberlake at his best. "Senorita" has all the elements of a great JT song; it is danceable, sexy and has that fun little dialogue between "fellas and ladies" at the end.


"Rock Your Body"
Again with the danceable and sexy element, this list would be incomplete without "Rock Your Body."


"SexyBack"
Whoa. "SexyBack" is JT at his sexiest and baddest. We all like to indulge in JT the bad boy now and then.

"Cry Me A River"
A favorite for break ups, "Cry Me A River" is less dance-y and more emotional. JT shows off his vocal range and that he is more than just a sex symbol.

"This I Promise You"
Though technically an 'NSYNC song, Justin does a lot of the singing in this one. "This I Promise You" is a pleasant reminder of why all of our pre-teen hearts fluttered at the thought of the curly-headed blonde.

"Like I Love You"
This is a favorite for dancing alone in my apartment. Bonus that he looks all moody and hot in the first seconds of the video.


"Summer Love"
Since summer is basically upon us, there is no better time to revisit "Summer Love." I only wish I was holding JT's hand and walking with him in the sand.

Justin Timberlake performs with a live band at DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night. His new album The 20/20 Experience is highly anticipated after his six year break. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

First he was a child star, then the breakout singer of a multi-platinum boy band, then a solo artist, actor and entrepreneur. 

Now, in 2013, we find the 32-year-old Justin Timberlake in an R&B/pop stage, and his album The 20/20 Experience is only his third in 11 years. Though he was still at the forefront of the public consciousness, he returns to the music scene six years after FutureSex/LoveSounds with longtime producer/collaborator Timbaland at his side. 

The album begins with an orchestral crescendo in “Pusher Love Girl,” displaying a more mature start than “Señorita” off of 2002’s Justified. Through a played-out metaphor, Timberlake likens his loving affections to a drug addiction. For the first five minutes, he creates soulful harmonies and solos over himself before a bridge leads to a much more rhythmic section. 

Because of the song’s distinct parts, it could be split in two, establishing a trend that continues for the entirety of the album. Much like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, soundscapes and vocal interludes are frequently used to combine two songs into one. 

The first single, platinum “Suit & Tie,” was released Jan. 14 and topped the charts within hours. Timberlake’s soothing falsetto makes up for one of Jay-Z’s worst rap verses to date. 

“Tunnel Vision” focuses Timberlake’s vision on a female, probably his wife, Jessica Biel, and features some of the album’s best production, with Timbaland using vocal percussion similar to “Cry Me a River.” The ending instrumentals highlight why Timbaland is one of the best producers — the music could stand alone without Timberlake’s vocal melodies and inversions. 

As the title suggests, the album’s main lyrical themes revolve around optics and perception, like the second single “Mirrors.” The song’s chorus outshines the rest of the album — it is lengthy, tender and infectious.      

The album ends with a relaxing ballad “Blue Ocean Floor,” consisting mainly of backmasked synthesizers and the orchestral melody introduced on “Pusher Love Girl,” proving that what goes around comes around.     

It’s not all incredible, though. With an average length of seven minutes, the 10 songs are full of musical twists and turns. The biggest question being: is the length necessary? Some songs like “Strawberry Bubblegum” have a less-than-subtle bridge, and what comes after it doesn’t add anything spectacular. Even the best track, “Mirrors,” falls prey to this problem, with a drawn out a cappella bridge that repeats the cheesy line “You are the love of my life.” The radio edits will undoubtedly shave off the excess minutes of many of the songs.     

It’s the record of a pop artist attempting to redefine himself through a triumphant return against grandiose expectations. It plays a little overly ambitious, but Timberlake will hopefully work the formula out, and is rumored to have plans to release a second volume of The 20/20 Experience later this year. Regardless, the album solidifies Timberlake and Timbaland’s continued domination of the modern pop scene.

“And I’ll be here till the colors fade/And I’ll be here till your dying day,” sings Casey McPherson on Bloom’s lead single “Sing Loud,” ensuring us that he will never stop making music. Austin’s own Alpha Rev lists 13 former members, but McPherson’s determination results in the band’s third alt-rock release. Caught somewhere between an unhurried Coldplay and a less mainstream Of Monsters & Men, Bloom is an atmospheric, well-produced record that Austinites can be proud of.  

Printed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 as: Timberlake focuses musical vision 

Photo Credit: John Massingill | Daily Texan Staff

No matter how much he tries, Justin Timberlake will never be a bad boy. 

But he sure gave it his best try at the final Myspace Secret Show during South By Southwest on Saturday. Timberlake’s show featured two versions of himself: boy-next-door Justin, and sex symbol Timberlake.

The Mickey Mouse Club gave Timberlake a wholesome start to the entertainment industry, but unlike some of his fellow mousketeers, he has maintained a relatively good-guy persona. While Christina Aguilera became X-tina and performed her “Dirrty” music video in a bikini, Timberlake frosted his tips and joined a boy band. 

As the ramen-haired frontman of *NSYNC, Timberlake’s career skyrocketed. No Strings Attached, when released in 2000, became the fastest-selling album of all time, and — of course — he had America’s sweetheart on his denim-suited arm. 

His relationship with Britney Spears in the early 2000’s was caked in reassurances that they were not having sex and that they were good kids. When they broke up, Spears released the horrible In the Zone and then, well, ended up with Kevin Federline. Timberlake, meanwhile, released “Cry Me A River,” where he sort of seeks revenge, but mostly pouts. 

Sure, there was that Superbowl halftime fiasco in 2004 where Timberlake played a key role in revealing Janet Jackson’s breast to most of America. This is one of the only real claims Justin has to bad boy fame, but he denied having any prior knowledge of the event. In fact, while Jackson’s new album tanked, Timberlake was awarded two Grammys for his release of Justified. He issued an on-stage apology for his bad behavior, and won all of our mothers’ approval back. 

Since then, his solo career has done well, and our boy from Tennessee has held his own among the nation’s biggest popstars. Even when he took a six-year hiatus from music after bringing sexy back with FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2006, Timberlake remained on the stage of American popular culture with his “Saturday Night Live” appearances and movie roles in “Friends With Benefits” and “Model Behavior.” 

For Timberlake, the scandal is always under wraps. He hasn’t been caught driving with his child on his lap like Spears, and he hasn’t come out of the closet like fellow *NSYNC member Lance Bass. Yet, at Saturday’s show, Timberlake tried to seduce us with typical bad boy behaviors. 

As it is in his “SNL” skits with Andy Samberg, Timberlake’s bad-boy antics are always in jest. After referencing the drugs that he was presumably on at his Myspace show, Timberlake went on to say “I’m just ... serious,” with a wink back into the crowd. 

We could claim that Timberlake is just transitioning with the release of his new album The 20/20 Experience, and he really did have that option. After six years, Timberlake could have produced any album he wanted. He could have stretched into hip-hop, jazz or even river-dancing. But he didn’t. The 20/20 Experience falls in easily with all of his previous work. He played songs from every album at the show on Saturday, and while he rapped in the middle of “Cry Me A River,” the transitions were seamless.

At midnight, Timberlake stood backlit at the microphone. “Is it St. Patty’s Day yet?” he purred. The crowd cheered, and Timberlake appeared blazer removed in a black tuxedo t-shirt holding a pint of dark beer that he promptly downed in one gulp. 

Soon after the guzzling, Timberlake sang “That Girl,” which is the seventh song on the 20/20 Experience. In it he sings, “Pretty lady, you’ll always be my baby, baby, baby// It’s so amazing, how you became my baby, baby, baby.” If that isn't a boy-next-door line, I don't know what is. 

At the end, when the stage went black except for a single spotlight and Timberlake whispered into the microphone “I’m motherfuckin’ bringin’ sexy back,” it was his wedding ring that cast a massive reflection back into the crowd. 

Printed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 as: Pop star's image remains 'good' through changes 

Afternoon Links

The Daily Texan Life and Arts section is happy to complement your afternoon procrastination with a smattering of news from across the cultural spectrum.

Here is Disalmanac’s very in-depth look at social media 100 years ago.

The Atlantic looks at word lengthening and why we sometimes text things like, “I loooooooove youuuuuuuu” and “sryyyyyyyyyy.”

Justin Timberlake will host AND sing on SNL on March 9. Basically JT will be everywhere come March. Most likely to promote his album, but also probably as a birthday gift to me.

If you haven’t read this already, a professor reminded me today about the greatness of George Orwell’s “Politics and the English language.” All of us are searching for the secrets to being a great writer, right?

Not to be an alarmist, but you might check your Special K for glass. The company is recalling a batch that may be contaminated.

New York Times shows us some cool connections between Oscar nominees. It’s interactive and fun!

OH MY GOSH A KITTEN IN A CUP.

Apparently there are apps that will let you interact on social media after you die. No thanks.

Complex put together a guide to Malcolm X’s Harlem, which I’m guessing doesn’t include that dance. The cultural icon was assassinated 48 years ago today.

Pheed is the number one social app on iTunes. And that is actually all I know about this app. Guess I will download it now?  

Lunchtime Links

The Daily Texan Life and Arts section is happy to complement your afternoon procrastination with a smattering of news from across the cultural spectrum.

Did you watch last night’s episode of "Girls?" This thoughtful review might interest you.

Pope Benedict announced that he will resign at the end of this month. Here are some pope jokes to help you grieve.

New Justin Timberlake music! Not only did he debut a new song during the Grammys, but he also released “Mirrors.” Eight minutes of bliss, in our humble opinion.

We live blogged the Grammys last night, but if you want to watch a few of the best performances, here they are.

For those of you who aren't alone and bitter this Valentine’s Day, this is quite possibly the most romantic gesture. If you are bitter, just skip this one and avoid the sad spiral guaranteed to follow. 

And the trailer is here for the One Direction 3D movie. This will be cuter and involve more hair gel than we ever though possible.

If you are looking for a new artificially flavored sugary way to start your day, Moutain Dew is launching a new drink called “Kickstart.” It will go well with cookie dough flavor Pop-Tarts.

A lot of music news this morning. The Postal Service released a new single. Ben Gibbard is back just in time for a mope-y Valentine’s Day.

While we were busy trying not to sweat, the Northeast was hit with a pretty massive blizzard. Here are some photos so you don’t forget what snow looks like.