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Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday: Justin Timberlake and Mitchell Owens, The Book Of Love Soundtrack

Music fans were delighted last week when music superstar Justin Timberlake released a new single supporting his upcoming sixth album. JT will follow the single release with an appearance on Saturday Night Live. For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I revisited Timberlake’s 2017 collaboration soundtrack album with Mitchell Owens, The Book Of Love. As he would do a year later with the album Man of The Woods, Timberlake decided to venture away from the R&B influences, which were the dominant force of his previous releases, and go for a different sound.

It is worth mentioning that The Book of Love soundtrack features Justin Timberlake on only one track, which is the titular track. This song, a cover of the Magnetic Fields song of the same name, is performed by The Shadowboxers, with Timberlake providing uncredited vocals. The song is a slow and melancholy ballad characterized by Timberlake’s expressive voice and the Shadowboxers’ atmospheric instrumentation & vocals.

Apart from the titular track, the rest of the music on the soundtrack is mainly instrumental and evocative. The soundtrack was composed by American composer and pianist Mitchell Owens. The music is characterized by its introspective and expressive qualities, focusing on creating an emotional connection with the listener. Song titles include “The Raft,” “Wink and Mug,” “The Munchies,” and “Treads.” The music is calming on first listen, and the run times are short.

However, mainstream listeners may find the music monotonous. Despite the abundance of caution that Justin Timberlake harbors towards his proceedings, he saves himself with towering arrangements of delicate piano and meticulous guitar plucking. The aim here is none other but to guarantee constant underlined musical emphasis in every irreplaceable moment and try to keep up with the film’s themes that weren’t that well received.

Although I appreciate Justin’s attempt to experiment with new sounds, this project may not appeal to fans expecting a soulful follow-up to his highly successful album “20/20 Experience.” However, it will likely resonate with those who appreciate atmospheric and emotive music.

Final Grade: C-

The Book Of Love soundtrack is available on all streaming platforms.

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