'Suit & Tie' premieres online to furious praise. Is it deserved?
Adam Tait

12:59 14th January 2013

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What a year for reunions 2013 has been already - first Bowie, now Justin Timberlake, and with more new music from the likes of Suede and Destiny's Child also doing the rounds, this is set to be a great year for reunited bands and comebacks.

From those artists, expectations are perhaps highest when it comes to Timberlake.

Bowie decided to reappear with absolutely no forewarning, avoiding the sort of Twitter frenzy that bumps hopes for whatever we're expecting ever higher.

And while Destiny's Child's first new track in eight years is exciting, there's no new album - only a compilation - and it's Beyonce's star-studded solo outing that we're really hyped about.

But JT got everyone's mouths watering with an ambiguous Twitter post ("Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:01 am PST...") which actually referred to a (slightly self- indulgent) YouTube teaser video in which the popstar asserts that he's 'ready' to reurn to music.

'Suit & Tie' is the first new material since 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds. Whatever he did next was going to arrive amid sky-high expectations, and letting people know there was something coming was only ever going to heighten the hysteria.

But the big question is was it worth the hype?

'Suit & Tie' is a smooth and sexy piece of R&B that captures a slight taste of hip-hop thanks to the appearances of Timbaland and Jay-Z. After a strange, warbled intro, the track slides into a lovely rolling groove for JT to sing over.

Is it the explosive return that 'Sexy Back' was? No, nowhere near, but you kind of feel each artist only gets one of those, tops.

But nor is it anywhere near rubbish. It's very listenable and likeable and demonstrates the artist's almost seamless seque back into music from his time in film. It's actually a very good song, even when you consider that back-catalogue it'll inevitably be compared to.

What's more important is that 'Suit & Tie' sounds like a return to the silky R&B pop that Justin Timberlake made his name with as a solo star. The sort of music that's been conspicuously absent over the last few years.

R&B is in the process of being revitalised, thanks to the likes of Solange and Frank Ocean who are busy reclaiming the genre from people like Rihanna and Chris Brown.

Judging by 'Suit & Tie', Timberlake is either eager to contribute to that renaissance or astutely aware of the opportunity to ride the wave, so to speak.

Beyonce, speaking to GQ about her new album (which JT is set to appear on), recently said: "We all started in the 90s, when R&B was the most important genre, we kind of want that back: the feeling the music gave us."

It seems like a whole host of musicians are ready to make R&B great in 2013, with Justin Timberlake among them.

Timberlake is arguably the most captivating male entertainer since Michael Jackson, so the hysteria caused by his teaser video was to be expected.

Whether JT's return was really worth the intense anticipation or not will ultimately depend on the album he releases. But judging by the single it has the potential to be a great record.

If 2013 is the year the holds brilliant comeback records from both Justin Timberlake and Beyonce, then all the hype will be more than justified and 2013 will be set to be a very good year for pop and R&B music indeed.

It would be wrong to dismiss 'Suit & Tie' as not being the explosive return some expected from JT. In reality, it's more likely to be the start of something that could grow into one of the musical highlights of 2013.

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Photo: WENN.com