While you may not think Justin Timberlake has built up enough of a discography yet to warrant a “Best of His Lesser-Known Material” kind of listicle, there are actually a number of gems on each of his albums that could otherwise go unheard by a casual fan. (Well, okay, maybe not from The 20/20 Experience, an album that feels like it’s still a rough cut - we’ll just take the radio edits, please!) Here are our top five lesser-known Justin Timberlake songs.
5. “Losing My Way” (from the album Futuresex/Lovesounds)
While Futuresex/Lovesounds is undoubtedly Timberlake’s best album to date, “Losing My Way” is an oddball stand-out of heavier material on an album that’s more about having sex, falling in love, and breaking up - and not necessarily in that order. What makes this track special for us is that you can appreciate Timberlake’s vocals here, which are, more often than not, the music’s wingman.
4. “Last Night” (from the album Justified)
Considering how much Timberlake evolved with Futuresex/Lovesounds, his Justified material actually seems dated now by comparison. The whole post-break-up-with-Britney debacle adds a taint to the material that might otherwise not have been there, though rather than crying in his beer, like he does on the final track of the album “Never Again” (which was, incidentally, written by R&B’s Brian McKnight), here Justin takes the bitchier high road - the “I’m moving on with my life, so don’t be waiting by the phone” kind of approach.
3. “Only When I Walk Away” (from the album The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2)
If you caught JT in his first musical performance on the long-running skit show Saturday Night Live, then you were privy to the feedback-filled and laser light show package that was “Only When I Walk Away.” While the fuzz can stretch into annoying territory, the super-catchy chorus saves it.
2. “FutureSex/LoveSound” (from the album Futuresex/Lovesounds)
A solid opener for the album, its title track (which is inexplicably spelled and enunciated differently from the album’s title) was co-written by Timberlake, Tim Mosley, and Nate “Danja” Hills. While Timberlake co-wrote every song on the album, these two were there for the majority. So it’s no surprise that the two weakest songs on the album did not have any input from either Mosley or Hills (“Damn Girl” and “Another Song [All Over Again]”).
1. “Chop Me Up” (featuring Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia) (from the album Futuresex/Lovesounds)
This is one of those songs that could easily go unheard by the casual Timberlake fan, which would be a tragedy indeed, because this could quite possibly be one of the best songs on the entire album. Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia give this song, already a bass-pumper, a good swift uppercut to the jaw. This is a song you’d be proud to blast from your speakers. It’s dirty, it’s sexy, and it makes The 20/20 Experience look like the lackluster follow-up that it is in comparison.