By Randall Roberts
Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
3:23 PM EST, January 24, 2013
Justin Timberlake rolls through Los Angeles in his new video for "Suit & Tie," the first single off of his forthcoming studio album. It's been a while since Timberlake, who earlier this month released the track as his first new solo material since 2006, made a video, and much has changed in the interim. Budgets have been slashed and camera technology has transformed the intimacy of shoots.
Perhaps most interesting, the new trend of so-called "lyric videos" -- simple clips that scroll through a song's lyrics as the music plays -- has transformed the business. For "Suit & Tie," Timberlake marries a lyric clip with the more standard music video format.
The result: Sing along as super-slick J.T. cruises through the hills and boulevards of L.A. in a vintage convertible GTO, running down Mulholland and Sunset and landing in some fancy hidden locale, where he parks. Watch as he carefully, in exquisite slow motion, dolls himself up in a dressing room, putting on smart, well-tailored duds, name-checking Tom Ford and doing his best J.T. poses like he's in the middle of a GQ photo shoot.
Timberlake ends up at a piano, where a lighted cigarette awaits him. Yes, Mr. Timberlake is smoking a cigarette. (A Newport, one hopes.) Later he grabs another, which his wife/enabler Jessica Biel lights for him. He swaps the cigarette for a cigar, drinks what we assume is an expensive single-malt Scotch, and animated fireworks explode, no doubt due to the booze and tobacco dancing in his head.
The voice of fellow pop royalty Jay-Z sneaks into the track for a cameo, though not physically. The king of Brooklyn doesn't have time in his schedule to show up for a lyric video (be real), so he offers his similarly sophisticated vocal run from whichever castle he's holed-up in.
Timberlake sits down for a quick rest, then decides to go gambling -- alone. (He is, it should be noted, wearing his wedding band.) Now drinking a martini, Timberlake seems to pile chips high at the roulette table -- of course -- before deciding to retire for the night.
Heading toward his car, Timberlake does a little step-dance before getting in. What a nice night. Our hero then heads back into the L.A. darkness. Alone and driving, but none the worse for wear.
The last shots are of Timberlake in a tuxedo in front of a plate of glass. On it is written, "The 20/20 Experience coming soon," referencing the name of his forthcoming album. No release date has been set, but rest assured when the news arrives it will be suavely delivered.
Because the song contains scattered cuss words, we can't embed the clip. But you can watch it here.ALSO:
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