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Justin Timberlake Expresses His Vulnerability on New Song ‘Selfish’

Upcoming 18-song album ‘Everything I Thought It Was’ arrives March 15

Justin Timberlake

Charlotte Rutherford

After Justin Timberlake debuted his new song “Selfish” last weekend at an intimate Memphis show, the singer has now released the video for the first single from his upcoming album Everything I Thought It Was.

In an Apple Music interview coinciding with the single release, Timberlake said of the track, “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.”

He continued, “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.”

The Bradley Calder-directed visual begins as a fourth-wall-breaking, behind-the-scenes account of Timberlake’s new video — with him simultaneously rehearsing for and shooting the video — before veering into Being John Malkovich territory as the singer emerges in a miniature floor-between-floors-like that 1999 film.

“Selfish” was co-written by Timberlake, Louis Bell, Cirkut, Theron Thomas, and Amy Allen, and produced by JT, Bell, and Cirkut.

In addition to the video, Timberlake also detailed Everything I Thought It Was’ release date, with the album — his first since 2018’s Man of the Woods — arriving on March 15 via RCA. The album is available to preorder now in a variety of formats, including a Timberlake Store exclusive version complete with postcards, a photo strip, a 20-page booklet, and pressed on clear double vinyl; while Timberlake didn’t reveal the album’s track list, he said there are 18 songs on the LP, culled down from over 100 songs he worked on while recording the album.

Timberlake will likely shine more light on the album when he appears on Jimmy Fallon’s couch for Thursday’s episode of The Tonight Show. “Selfish” will probably also be among the tracks Timberlake performs when he serves as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

“I think there are moments that are incredibly honest, but also, there’s a lot of fucking fun on this album,” Timberlake added of Everything I Thought It Was.

“I think that’s where I came up with the album title, with everything I thought it was. 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.”

From Rolling Stone US