U.S. singer and heartthrob Justin Timberlake wants to push the boundaries of pop music with a new album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” which marks a departure from his earlier chart-topping style, he said Friday.
Timberlake’s first solo album, “Justified,” sold more than 7 million copies, and the 25-year-old, whose relationship with Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz is a regular feature in tabloid newspapers, has also moved into acting.
His new album is due to be released on Sept. 11.
“I realize that I have a platform to push the sound of pop music. That’s the only responsibility that I put on myself in recording the album,” Timberlake told a news conference at the start of a promotional tour.
“If I’m not going to push it, then who’s going to push it?”
The first single from the album, “SexyBack,” features a pounding bass beat and electronic sounds, and does not include the falsetto singing that has become Timberlake’s trademark. He said, however, that the album featured “a lot” of such singing.
“The best way I can describe that song is say David Bowie and David Byrne decided to do a cover of James Brown’s ‘Sex Machine,”’ Timberlake told reporters.
Perhaps aware of media speculation that his relationship with Diaz was going through a “rough patch,” journalists were instructed to ask Timberlake only about his music and acting.
He said the new sound was the product of a broad variety of influences, from soul legends Al Green and Marvin Gaye to bands such as The Beatles and The Eagles.
“I think it’s important on your sophomore album to broaden your sound, to try something new, because if you do the same thing, then your third album has to be the same thing and your fourth album has to be the same thing and, you know, you don’t grow,” the former member of 1990s boy band ’N Sync said.
Timberlake wrote songs on the album with producer and rapper Timbaland, and the album features guest vocals by Timbaland, Atlanta rapper TI and Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas.
While he wants to change pop music, he said he was not aiming to take over Michael Jackson’s “King of Pop” mantle.
“I think that you guys definitely want a new king of pop, you definitely want one and I’m probably not the only one who you might be thinking of. I don’t want it. I want to do what I do,” he said.