Justin Timberlake (hypothetically) reflects on his musical hiatus

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March 06, 2013|By Matt Pais | RedEye Sound Board

Justin Timberlake’s attitude toward people’s impatience for new music from him has been, in so many words, “cry me a river.” He wanted to act. And who were we to deny him “The Love Guru”?

Thankfully, more than six years since Timberlake’s last studio album, 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” Jessica Biel’s husband is back on the bandwagon—with “The 20/20 Experience,” due March 19, and the highly anticipated “Legends of the Summer” stadium tour with Jay-Z, which stops July 22 at Soldier Field. That’s on top of a return to his home away from home as host and musical guest on “Saturday Night Live," plus an unprecedented, weeklong residency on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Now that the ex-N’Sync member (who still has several movies on the way, including the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis”) is a musician again, how does he feel about some of his recent professional and personal choices that didn’t involve making an album? Here are some guesses.

Dec. 2006: “Dick In a Box”
20/20 vision: “Classic. My second appearance on ‘SNL’ confirmed my ego-free comic chops and eventually netted me a Grammy [in Sept. ’07] with Lonely Island for a song that still holds up in ’13. Not to mention a timeless gift idea.”

April 2008: Madonna releases “Hard Candy” featuring five collaborations with JT, including single “4 Minutes”
20/20 vision: “I guess the name Madonna doesn’t mean what it used to. Maybe I just wanted to have something in common with her other than having both made out with Britney Spears.”

June 2008: “The Love Guru”
20/20 vision: “Mike Myers gave me his word this wouldn’t be an embarrassment. I should have known better after ‘Shrek the Third.’”

Sept. 2009: Wins Emmy for guest appearance on “SNL”
20/20 vision: “I love being the first ‘SNL’ host to win an Emmy, even if ‘Motherlover’ drastically increased the number of middle-aged women that hoot and holler at me.”

Sept. 2010: “The History of Rap” with Jimmy Fallon (followed by Part 2 in July 2011, Part 3 in Oct. 2011 and Part 4 in March 2013)
20/20 vision: “I still watch these on a weekly basis. So fun to do, and a great way to remind the youngsters I’m not just an actor. Jimmy is my boy.”

Oct. 2010: “The Social Network”
20/20 vision: “Talk of a possible Oscar nod faded, which was a bummer. I’ll get my EGOT one day, and doing movies like this is exactly how to get it done. Or just write a song for a soundtrack, eh, Adele?”

Oct. 2010: An Us weekly cover story claims Timberlake was caught cheating on Biel with Olivia Munn.
20/20 vision: “Subscription canceled.”

Dec. 2010: “Yogi Bear”
20/20 vision: “Small boo boo. Still mad the free picnic basket from the studio never arrived.”

June 2011: “Bad Teacher”
20/20 vision: “It was nice to see Cameron again, but even a shred of awkwardness with my ex to play a poorly drawn character in a movie that didn’t work? Not worth it.”

June 2011: Sources speculate that Timberlake hooked up with Ashley Olsen.
20/20 vision: “I should be able to hang out with whomever I want. That said, if I weren’t me, I’d do a double-take about this friendship too.”

July 2011: “Friends with Benefits”
20/20 vision: “Flaunted my comedic skills. Got to hang with Mila Kunis. Sick.”

Oct. 2011: “In Time”
20/20 vision: “I blew it. Even though the press doesn’t know whether or not I dated Olivia Wilde, having her play my mom was pretty weird.”

Sept. 2011: Wins two Emmys for guest appearance and co-songwriting on “SNL.”
20/20 vision: “Anything less for pretending to have a threesome with Andy Samberg and Lady Gaga would be a travesty.”

Sept. 2012: “Trouble with the Curve”
20/20 vision: “I liked this movie. Hardly anyone else did. It was time to do some music.”

Oct. 2012: Scandal involving a video made for his wedding that mocked homeless people
20/20 vision: “I shouldn’t have had to tell my friends not to do this. Man. I love ‘em, but they obviously don’t understand what it’s like being in the public eye. I’m trying to be universally beloved here.”

Feb. 2013: Grammy performance
20/20 vision: “Nailed it. ‘Suit and Tie’ isn’t my best, but ‘Pusher Love Girl’ killed. By comparison, Bruno Mars looked like an insincere, retro imposter.”

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

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