Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (Singles Going Steady)

"Can't Stop the Feeling" is a nonsensical but serotonin-pumping pop confection that cares more about uprooting your feet than animating your intellect.

Pryor Stroud: We’ve come to expect a certain level of inventiveness from Justin Timberlake. From the ubiquitous, Gregorian chant-infused “Cry Me a River” to the future-funk eroticism of “My Love”, the Memphis-born boy wonder has made good use of Timbaland’s talents to push the sonic boundaries of whatever pop scene he finds himself in. He’s created new formulas, eviscerated others. But by this standard, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is an unequivocal disappointment: its nu-disco swagger is, by now, a commonplace in the mainstream pop circuit, and its lyrical content — forgettable platitudes about sunshine, feeling good, and dancing — floats in one ear and out the other. Yet this is an overly critical assessment. In a sense, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is best conceptualized as a modern equivalent of “Rock Your Body” — that is, a nonsensical but serotonin-pumping pop confection that cares more about uprooting your feet than animating your intellect. [6/10]

Evan Sawdey: There was a time when a Timberlake solo single, regardless of quality, still meant something. “Suit & Tie” and “SexyBack” were tracks that, while debatable in quality, still showed a pop artist pushing the threshold of his art into new territories, trying to set trends instead of merely following them. Now, with “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, JT has handed us what sounds like a Jason DeRulo reject and succumbed fully to the trends of the time. It’s serviceable, sure, but it’s also cloying, obvious, and unchallenging in the worst possible ways. It’s Top 40 empty calories from someone who spent a long time trying to be the essential ingredient to a pop star diet, and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is the sugar crash we all were dreading for oh so long. [3/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Three years after The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake is finally back with a song that’s trying to be as infectious and light-hearted as Pharrell Williams “Happy”. For the most part, he does a decent job. The beat is the best element of the song, since it’s layered, colorful and have a groove that’s easy to move to. Justin’s singing is the same as usual, which isn’t bad because he’s a decent singer. What this track fails at, though, is being even slightly subtle in its efforts to be as commercial as possible. Not only is the song simply about having fun and dancing, but the horde of celebrities in the music video, including Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, Icona Pop and James Corden among others, simply adds to the overly commercialized, simplified atmosphere that “Can’t Stop the Feeling” wears proudly for all to see. It’s sweet, poppy, quirky, and overtly commercial, basically the bread of butter of Justin Timberlake’s musical output as of late. [6/10]

Jonathan Frahm: I can’t stop this feeling, either, JT… this feeling being that I like this song a lot more than I thought I would. Hey, I’m allowed to be skeptical if it’s from the Trolls movie soundtrack, alright? As almost always, though, Timberlake has produced another banger, this time with an infectious, feel-good quality about it all that really gets even me grooving (at least in my mind). The music video is really just inoffensive brand accompaniment, but the song itself is danceable, pleasingly proving that JT is capable of crossing over a little further into more electronic instrumentation without alienating fans or with it coming across as a gimmick. [7/10]

Chad Miller: The bass and synths are really nice here. The track itself goes in pretty unpredictable directions which is nice, and the chorus is extremely catchy too. I feel like this track is going to grow on me a lot in the future, but as of now I find it a really enjoyable pop song that seems like it wants to compete for the highly contested “song of the summer” slot. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Whether he’s goofing off with Jimmy Fallon on late night TV or showing off his considerable acting skills in a Coen Brothers period film, TImberlake has been a difficult artist to pin down, which is one of the major reasons he’s been able to break out of the boy band mold in a way nobody else has. Musically, he usually teeters somewhere between R&B and straight dance pop, and this song falls squarely between those two. While there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking going on here, it’s an extremely solid single, with a contemporary production sheen and classic songwriting reminiscent of vintage Bee Gees (right down to the booty-shaking four-on-the-floor beat and the silky smooth falsettos). The video has that annoying “look at all my cool famous friends” vibe, but everyone’s having fun, and why not? It’s a great song. [8/10]

Jared Skinner: Prepare yourself. Justin Timberlake has returned with a new single that you will hear an obscene amount of times this summer. Written for his upcoming movie “Trolls” and featuring members of the cast in the video, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is an incredibly catchy, upbeat and contagious song. A song that every brooding critic wants to hate for its instant universality and unstoppable radio presence but in the end really isn’t so bad. Pop master Justin Timberlake has made yet another nightclub/birthday party/roadtrip/every social event you can imagine dance and sing-along smash hit. [6/10]

SCORE: 6.14