Justin Timberlake’s Return: How The World Has Changed Since FutureSex/LoveSounds

In honor of Timberlake's return to music, we take a look at the world in 2006, when he last released an album.

It’s been a minute since Justin Timberlake released new music — more than 3 million of them, actually.

On September 12, 2006, he dropped his second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, a massively-successful, forward-thinking effort that had us thinking the sky was the limit … only, in the six years since, we’ve heard nary a note from JT, as he’s instead turned his focus to movies, a myriad of entrepreneurial endeavors and, of course, resurrecting long-dormant social-networking sites .

But now, it appears that JT will end his lengthy hiatus , with a rumored new album (or single) that could be unveiled as early as Monday. And while we’re certainly ready for his return, we’ve got to wonder: Is he?

Justin Timberlake’s road to new music: Is the wait over?

Because, let’s face it … a whole lot has changed in the world since he’s been away. Shoot, Honey Boo Boo hadn’t even donned her first tiara yet (since she was only 1 at the time). What was the the world like on September 12, 2006, when FutureSex/LoveSounds hit stores? Take a look:

» “The Covenant” — a thoroughly terrible teensploitation flick about Warlocks (starring a pre-Tim Riggins Taylor Kitsch) — was #1 at the box office, while Timberlake’s “SexyBack” was beginning week two of a seven-week stay atop the Billboard Hot 100. The song it knocked off to get to #1? Fergie’s “London Bridge.”

» The first iPhone was still nearly a year away from debuting (though we didn’t mind; we were in love with the Motorola Razr), iPods still only came with click wheels, and people thought the Zune was a good idea.

» The X-Box 360 was less than a year old, while both the PS3 and the Nintendo Wii were a month away from going on sale to the general public. YouTube, which had launched in February 2005, was sold to Google in October 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock.

» Timberlake’s ex, Britney Spears, had just given birth to Jayden James, her second child with then-husband Kevin Federline. Less than two months later, she’d file for divorce from Federline, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

» Timberlake’s future wife, Jessica Biel, would make her final appearance on “7th Heaven,” returning in the final episode of the show’s tenth season. Her role as a series regular had been eliminated five years earlier, after she became dissatisfied with her character Mary Camden’s “goody goody” image, and sought to rectify it with a semi-nude spread in “Gear” magazine, much to the consternation of the series’ producers.

» George W. Bush was midway through his second term as president, Saddam Hussein was still alive, and Barack Obama was serving as the junior senator from Illinois. And no one outside of Alaska had heard of Sarah Palin, who was running for governor of the state.

» You still had a MySpace page … but not for much longer: On September 26, 2006, Facebook announced that anyone with a valid e-mail address would be able to join the site. And with that, your MySpace account officially began collecting e-dust.

Can you wait for new Justin Timberlake music? Let us know in the comments below.