At long last, Justin Timberlake dropped the first single from his upcoming sixth solo album on Jan. 25, and it comes accompanied by a Bradley J. Calder-directed music video. Check out the short film for "Selfish" below.
The R&B-tinged "Selfish" is from the forthcoming full-length release Everything I Thought It Was which will drop March 15 via RCA.
Timberlake has exploded back into public consciousness with several social marketing events within the last few weeks. After his Instagram account was wiped clean, speculation ran rampant that this signaled new material. Next up, Timberlake performed a one-off gig in his hometown of Memphis on Jan. 19, debuting new songs, including "Selfish."
In quick succession, it was announced that he'll be appearing with BFF Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Jan. 25, and on Saturday Night Live Jan. 27 as the musical guest. But as he told Zane Lowe in a promotional interview on his Apple Music 1 show, "I flirted with the idea of, should I host or ask to host? And then I just thought, 'No, this album is really special to me in a different, different way,'" Timberlake told Lowe. "And, yeah, you read that perfectly, but I also cannot imagine that I won’t get pulled into a sketch or two. It’s only natural."
He also has another free one-off concert at New York City's Irving Plaza set for Jan. 31. Tickets can be found here.
As for the "Selfish" video, the pre-release teaser depicted Timberlake with his back to the camera as a giant in a miniature desert with a voiceover from Benicio Del Toro questioning the entire existence of the video. Now, however, the theme is squarely on classic Timberlake.
The video, while showcasing close-ups of the singer in an empty warehouse, singing and dancing, segues into a curious segment as Timberlake is drawn to a miniature office hallway, trying to reach a telephone. This visual is a direct homage to the 1999 Spike Jonze-directed Being John Malkovich. This Oscar-nominated dark comedy stars John Cusack as a puppeteer who finds a portal into Malkovich's mind.
(Strangely, Timberlake is now the second major pop star to notably reference a Charlie Kaufman-written film in the last month, with Ariana Grande making multiple allusions to Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the lead-up to her album Eternal Sunshine.)
Despite the video's seriousness, the singer has mentioned in several media outlets that he believes this album will be "fun," as did close collaborator Timbaland, who broke the news in April 2023 through Variety that Timberlake had the album finished.
The album will be Timberlake's first since 2018's Man of the Woods, which topped the album chart upon its release and was accompanied by a world tour and a gig performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. He's hardly been quiet in the subsequent years, however, and in 2023 Timberlake contributed music to the animated sequel Trolls World Tour, which saw him reunited with his former NSYNC bandmates for the first time in years.
Everything I Thought It Was will be released March 15 and is available for pre-order at Timberlake's website.