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 'My dad was like, 'Enjoy your life. Enjoy what you've worked so hard for.' ' ...



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 The tough lessons Justin learned from his relationship with Britney ...





 JT dishes on new tracks and the Super Bowl incident in these video clips


 Live Report: Justin Previews New LP At 'Sexy' Hollywood Show


 Photos: Justin Timberlake Live In London, 07.13.2006


 Vote for your favorite artists on the official VMA site


 "All Eyes On Christina Aguilera"
From the new kid to an old soul, the singer comes of age



 "All Eyes On Beyoncé"
Beyoncé candidly talks about her ultimate B'Day wishes





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He also learned some tough lessons about celebrity relationships while dating his former "Mickey Mouse Club" co-star, Britney Spears. The couple were a tabloid treasure, spawning a frenzy of gossip that involved oral sex, spying and Alyssa Milano, and culminated in the Us Weekly headline "Britney vs. Justin: The War Is On."

"I've really grown up in front of everyone and that's not an easy thing," he says. "Statistically, it doesn't usually end up in happy times. But I think I was just able to gain perspective with how all of it [with Britney] was handled. ... Fame is this thing, but at the end of the day we all put our pants on the same way. Unless you're an acrobat."

When Timberlake finally felt inspired to make music again, he chose not to pursue the 'NSYNC reunion that had been considered after Justified. "It's one thing to say, 'Hey, let's get back together and let's do something,' " he says. "But then you say, 'OK, what are we gonna do? What we did doesn't work now. How would we reinvent what we do?' I don't think the answer came to any of us."

Instead, he reached out to Justified collaborator Timbaland and recorded a song called "What Goes Around Comes Around," about a guy who gets the short end of a relationship but eventually comes out on top. It could easily be the sequel to the Britney-inspired "Cry Me a River," but it's not.

"I had no qualms telling you what 'Cry Me a River' was about, so I have no qualms about telling you that this one is not about what 'Cry Me a River' was about," Justin insists. "The song was specifically written about a friend of mine and the experience he went through ... and I want to honor the fact that they can still have their anonymity."

Musically, "What Goes Around Comes Around" could be right at home on Justified, but that's about the only common thread between it and FutureSex/LoveSounds. After telling producer Timbaland that he wanted "to go so far left" with the new songs, they laid down 10 of them, including the first single, "SexyBack" — which of course bears the bold claim, "I'm bringing sexy back."

The singer is just as upfront about working his sexiness — on this song, anyway — as he is about virtually everything else these days. "Everybody [says], 'I'm a songwriter, I'm an artist, people come to my shows because they like my songs,' but the truth of the matter is the Beatles started hysteria because girls loved them," Justin says. "I think that for this record, yeah, I'm cool with it. And when you become cool with something then you say, 'Well, I'm going to do it like nobody's done it.' "

At first blush, even fans might be wondering who exactly is "bringing sexy back" — the voice sounds nothing like the Timberlake we've heard before. It's studio-enhanced, for one thing, and he croons less like an R&B artist than a rock singer. He's said previously that he wanted the tune to come across as David Bowie and David Byrne covering James Brown's "Sex Machine."

But his admiration for rock icons doesn't end with that song. Justin says the entire album reflects the influence Bowie and late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence have had on him.

"What I love about them is I felt like they were capturing something raw and unrehearsed, and that was something that I wanted to take," Justin says. "I would probably be lying to myself if I didn't say that was because I came from something that was so rehearsed, you know, with 'NSYNC and even with the first record. And I wanted to get away from that ... The truth of the matter is I'm not a rock star. But this is me pushing it as far as I could go. It's not for everybody, but I love it."

Along with Timbaland and his friend Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, Timberlake enlisted one of rock's greatest producers to work on FutureSex/LoveSounds: Rick Rubin. Chris Rock had suggested the collaboration to Justin and the singer solidified it when he bumped into Rubin at Coachella. When they finally got inside a studio, it was Rubin's words of advice (as it usually is) that made such an impact.

"He talked about the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody' and how they wrote that song for Otis Redding [the legendary soul singer who died in a 1967 plane crash] and then he never got a chance to record it. And then they recorded it themselves and it was one of their biggest hits," Timberlake recalls. "And he said, 'If you were to write a song for Donny Hathaway, what would it sound like? And then sing it and make it your own.' "

Timberlake applied the technique to "(Another Song) All Over Again," the only Rubin-produced track to make the album. The homage to the late Hathaway (Justin's "all-time favorite singer") was recorded at recent Rubin collaborator Neil Diamond's studio, utilizing some of Rubin's legendary session-musician friends to accompany Justin's piano playing.

"The idea with Rick was to do the anti-whatever-you-want-to-call-it that [Timbaland and] I came up with. Let's have one song on this record that's just one vocal, what you hear is how we cut it. And that's how it sounds in all of its simplicity."

The track presents an unusually unadorned Justin in an intimate setting we've never really heard from him before. It's almost like he's alone with the song, enjoying that privacy he's revered and respected since childhood.

"I think the challenge on this record was to try to become a better songwriter and push myself as far as I can push myself with the help of Tim and Will and Rick," he says. "And I feel like I've done it, so I'm cool with whatever it does. I'm happy with what I've made. I'll experience it differently this time."

Even so, FutureSex/LoveSounds promises that he'll be experiencing success on top of the world, all over again.




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