I’m going to go ahead and open myself up to some eye-rolls, but I love Justin Timberlake. Outside of my immediate circle of friends, the opinions that I’ve seen expressed about him in my social networks online have ranged from amused derision to downright venomous hatred (which, honestly, get a life). But musically, he’s definitely one of my favorites and I also really admire how his “brand” is marketed. Branding isn’t something that I’m necessarily an expert in, but I know a bit about it. In my opinion, few artists have navigated the necessary evils of the music industry as deftly as he has. And this makes me like him even more, as silly as that may be. I just really admire people who are able to do their jobs really well.
Anyway, my favorite track off of his new album is “Mirrors.” I don’t think it’s necessarily the best song on the album, but I love listening to it because I love how it conveys a particular level of grown up. Timberlake is not old. Far from it. He knows he has a lot of life and experience and wisdom to come, but he’s old enough to be able to reflect on his past mistakes and take at least a partial survey of where he is.
Something that had kind of frustrated me about popular music the last few years was how there didn’t seem to be any delineation between what was for kids and what was for grown ups. When I was a kid, I liked stuff that was definitely geared toward my age group, but I was also aware of (and liked) music that seemed very mature, like Sade and Anita Baker, two artists who I LOVE now as an adult. Recently, I felt like everything was a weird mixture of immaturity and couldn’t really get into it. But Timberlake has emerged from his 20s and entered into his marriage with both peace and preparation for what comes next.
The song “Mirrors” is long and at the end transitions into practically a different song altogether, with the hypnotic chant of, “You are, you are, the love of my life,” that serves as the background for his gentle plea to his wife to get home.
It’s that mention of “home” that I think gets me. Part of why I hadn’t been writing here very much is because things have been really good at home. Like, really, really good. In fact, I don’t think the husband and I have ever been this happy. Today, we’ve been married seven years. June 17, 2006 was definitely one of the happiest days of my life, but I don’t know that it can compare to June 17, 2013. It’s the same date but with so many good and bad days behind it, so many rough patches that have led us to where we are now. I would be naive if I thought that things would always be great from now on. But knowing that we’ve made it through so far is encouraging.
The video for “Mirrors” depicts the tale of a couple spanning many years, supposedly based on the relationship of Timberlake’s grandparents. I love this element, that shows the couple looking to the past for wisdom even in their old age, knowing what they’ve accomplished and when they’ve failed and being able to enjoy being with each other.
I love having a love story. I love that we’ll be writing it until the end.