The highly-anticipated collaboration from Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton has finally arrived, and it’s a surprising and sometimes puzzling blend of both artists’ trademark sounds.
This morning, the longtime friends and collaborators dropped both the song and its corresponding video after weeks of anticipation.
In a move that might give some country traditionalists sudden cardiac arrest, the two blend a groovy acoustic guitar riff with electronic beats and soaring production. At times, it all feels a little overworked (similar to Timberlake’s most recent track, “Filthy“), but the power of Timberlake and Stapleton’s voices help keep things from going off the deep end.
We all know that these two can carry any song with ease, but the real discussion point with “Say Something” is, ironically, the lack of its clear message.
The lyrics to “Say Something” could easily be connected to the highly-discussed cultural issues like sexual harassment (especially in country music itself), ongoing political tensions and the idea to “shut up and sing” on first listen. However, the lyrics stay vague and also seem to be more connected to Timberlake’s journey to change up his sound without explanation. His anticipated foray into country music has been discussed for years, but little country influence have been heard in what has been released so far from his new album Man of the Woods.
With the star power and catchy rhythm, the song will likely be popular with many. But penning a song called “Say Something” with one of the most powerful voices in country music seems like a missed opportunity.
“Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all,” the pair chant in anthemic fashion. But in times like these, is that the message we all really want to hear?