SZA and Justin Timberlake - "The Other Side" (Singles Going Steady)

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell re-imagined for 2020. SZA does most of the heavy lifting here, while Justin Timberlake busts a selection of moves in a charmingly self-deprecating way.

Ian Rushbury: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell re-imagined for 2020. SZA does most of the heavy lifting here, while JT busts a selection of moves in a charmingly self-deprecating way. The tune is stuffed full of hooks, performed well and hey – you can even dance to it. The video will make you fall in love with the pair of them, if you weren't in love with them both already. Modern pop, built on classic lines. [8/10]

Mike Schiller: It is the year 2020, and somehow 39-year-old Justin Timberlake is recording more songs for Trolls movies since it worked out so well last time (surely you remember "Can't Stop the Feeling"? It's stuck in your head now, isn't it?). This one's on the soundtrack to something called Trolls World Tour, which will at best be forgettable and, at worst, assuage any doubt that the coming fiery apocalypse is exactly what we deserve. The song falls in the former category, though once it seeps through the speakers at the dentist's office, the baseball game, the DMV, and so on, we'll all be singing along anyway like we're supposed to. SZA sounds amazing, and with any luck, this is a sign that she has more music on the way. Timberlake sounds like he did 20 years ago, back when he had just left NSYNC because that's the most marketable version of Timberlake that exists. They both look like they can't believe they're getting paid for this. They're having a great time, probably, and good for them. [5/10]

Mick Jacobs: I like this more than I want to, partially because upbeat SZA is endlessly appealing and under-utilized. This song could have been nestled in Calvin Harris's Funk Waves LP, and you'd never be the wiser. If it weren't attached as an obvious promo vehicle for a film, people would likely agree. [7/10]

Peter Griffiths: It's really dumb when people describe stuff as "good pop music", but this is both pop music and good. It's a well-oiled machine, and you can't help but respect that. Justin sounds super juicy on this, too. The chorus, "the grass ain't always greener on the other side", is trite, but maybe that just makes it easier to ignore. Maybe that's the point. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.75





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