Update: The music video for “Say Something” has already dropped. Check it out above.
When the tracklist to Timberlake’s upcoming album, Man Of The Woods, hit the internet, many thought it was a hoax. After all, the titles of the songs, the collected collaborators — including country’s current golden child, rising star Stapleton — and the overall aesthetic of his woodsy trailer for the album seemed like a feverish, “Go west, young man,” fantasy.
However, looking back, the pairing of Timberlake with Stapleton may not be so far-fetched. After all, the pair has performed together at multiple awards shows and festivals, most recently at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, but previously at the 49th Annual Country Music Awards. Also, Timberlake’s dabbled in country sounds like twangy guitars on tracks like “What Goes Around,” which while produced by hip-hop superproducer Timbaland, also tapped into Justin’s Memphis roots.
“Say Something” is a similar blend of styles, with Stapleton’s guitar and western-influenced castanets creating a surprisingly danceable groove that isn’t too far off from Timberlake’s usual comfort zone. Their voices also blend well as they sing the wistful, regretful lyrics, a rumination on social pressure to have something to say and not being sure if you really do. It’s an interesting take from Timberlake, who’s been called on lately to speak out on a number of issues, and called out almost as often for sticking his foot in his mouth. As he sings here, “sometimes the best way to say something is to say nothing at all.”