Justin Timberlake’s new single “Take Back the Night” (RCA) shows what happens when you draw too much from your influences. The first single from the second installment of Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” owes so much to Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and The Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” – right down to the horn flourishes – that going back to the originals makes more sense. After all, those songs have a far greater sense of joy than Timberlake’s preoccupation with laid-back cool.
That said, it does work as a nice retro diversion.
And the video, which debuted Tuesday, does work as a sweet love letter to New York, moving from the secret hipster clubs of Chinatown right to the stage of Yankees Stadium, where Timberlake co-headlined with Jay Z.
And the inspiration....