There’s no handbook on how to reboot a music career after more than half a decade off the radar, but when you’re Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child, your name alone is enough to send fans into a frenzy.
At least both acts hope so. In eerily similar sneak attacks last week, DC and Timberlake hit fans with unexpected new tunes and made major announcements after giving little to no warning that they were cranking the music machine back up.
How did their rollouts compare? Let’s take a look.
Say My Name
It’s not like either act ever really went away. JT has been a constant presence on “Saturday Night Live,” in the movies and with the odd guest spot on songs (Madonna, 50 Cent, T.I.). Beyoncé has kept the fame fire burning with a series of hit albums and tours, and Kelly Rowland has released a series of singles and two solo albums, in addition to appearing as a judge on a number of reality talent competitions. Michelle Williams has also gone the reality route, while landing a series of Broadway roles and focusing on her gospel career.
Both have also teased potential comebacks over the years, with Timberlake dropping a series of hints that he might be ready to make music again since shortly after the 2006 release of his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds.
Given Bey’s huge solo success, as the years went on, it was looking less likely that the trio would bring it all back home. But hopes were raised last summer when Beyoncé’s dad and former manager, Mathew Knowles, offered news about a pair of compilation albums with previously unreleased material and his hope that a tour might come together within the decade.
(Oh No) What You Got
As if they coordinated their outfits, JT and DC announced their returns on the same day last week. Timberlake was first, promising big news last Wednesday night and posting a video the following day declaring, “I’m ready.” His new website also had a countdown clock to … something, as fans scrambled to wrap their heads around the fact that after years of demurring on his musical future, JT seemed locked, loaded and ready to roll with new tunes.
Last Thursday also brought the out-of-nowhere news that DC would be dropping their first new song in eight years, “Nuclear.” The single will be featured on the upcoming compilation Love Songs, which is due January 29.
Check On It
The reveal was doubly good for Destiny’s fans, since it was accompanied by reports that the trio would take it to the stage during a medley of their hits at Beyoncé’s February 3 Super Bowl halftime gig . They also wasted no time in getting “Nuclear” into their fans’ earholes, posting the Pharrell-produced tune online Friday.
Justin took the teaser route. First came the mysterious tweet, then the video and countdown and, finally, on Sunday night, the posting of the Timbaland-produced “Suit & Tie,” with a verse from Jay-Z. Timberlake also disclosed the name of his upcoming album, The 20/20 Experience, promising it would be out later this year. If the immediate response to the single is any indication, for now, fans are excited for his comeback, if not the song itself.
Bottom line? Two legends from the same era make shock returns on practically the same day after years out of the spotlight, harnessing the power of social media to get their new songs into fans’ hands instantly. The result? We shall see.
What do you think of “Suit & Tie” and “Nuclear”? Share your thoughts in the comments below!