I think Justin Timberlake is trying to brainwash us into thinking his new album isn't trash.
The lyrics play like guided meditations repeating mantras over and over in an attempt to convince you there's a catchy hook in there somewhere. There usually isn't.
"Haters gonna say it's fake", "It starts at midnight, midnight" and don't get me started on "Supplie-ie-ies" or "Wave, wave, wave, now the other way, now the other way, now the other way".
Yes, this is a songwriting technique but when it's employed so often on so many songs then it's just lazy.
The production could save Timbo here - Timbaland and Pharrell are all over this album - if he could just pick a direction and do that well. Instead, you've got Americana, classic country, reggae, R&B, funk, disco, and pop clashing together as if the producers just looked out for number one, investing in the sound but not the album itself.
Midnight Summer Jam sounds like Kanye's Ultralight Beam before heading into Bee Gees territory, Wave sounds like Pokey LaFarge spent a month in the Caribbean and Young Man sounds like Keith Urban tried to make a kid-friendly R&B track.
And all this is without even getting into just what the hell Justin Timberlake is ever actually talking about. He really wants us to know he's a real "man's man", hanging out in the bush and wearing flannel (there's literally a song called Flannel).
But otherwise, in a time where there is so much to say, Justin Timberlake has somehow succeeded in saying nothing. He even acknowledges his "rose-coloured glasses" and takes a line right out of Ronan Keating's songbook: "Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all."
Even on a personal level, his advice to his son is "when you fall, you don't have to stay down". He brings in his wife, Jessica Biel, to speak on various tracks and then has hypersexual lyrics about how he loves "her pink" and she likes his "purple", finding the "faucet" and handling "all that meat".
And this is after that horrific video for Supplies in which Timbo painted himself as some type of saviour for women while simultaneously objectifying them and insisting on what a "generous lover" he is, while cutting to vague political imagery.
This is the thing: Justin Timberlake has nothing to say, so he's said nothing and covered it up by saying a few nonsensical things many times.
The best songs here are good because of someone else; the Timbaland and Danja collaborations are obvious standouts, particularly Sauce. The Alicia Keys duet is a slick old soul track and Filthy - despite being Sexy Back 2.0 - is a jam.
Man of the Woods has great production and great vocals, there's just nothing holding those things together.
Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Album: Man of the Woods
Label: Sony Music
Verdict: All flash, no substance and a lot of confusion.