Before “Selfish” arrived, Justin Timberlake had created enough buzz for it to make sure that it did not go unnoticed. In fact, as his first proper single in nearly six years, “Selfish” was one of the most anticipated songs of the year so far. He played it at a free concert in his hometown, he teased it with videos and now that it’s here, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of its promotion. But that’s the beauty of lead singles – since they kind of carry an entire project behind them, they do need heavy promotion to be able to do the heavy lifting. Chances are the single is as good as Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” and your work is cut out for you, or maybe it’s not and you need to strategically – forcefully, in any case – get people to notice it and perhaps in time, even like it. Let’s be honest a viral song tends to go more viral because we either like to go with the buzz or we follow our leaders, like ants do.
So, “Selfish” is here. And already there’s a bit of drama attached to it. If you see Britney Spears’ 2011 single of the same name trending, that’s the drama I’m talking about. For now, let’s forget about those who think the single is lackluster or isn’t too thrilling or interesting and form our own honest opinion.
For one, “Selfish” comes complete with a catchy melody. The lyrics, while being interesting, aren’t particularly exceptional. “If they saw what I saw / They would fall the way I fell / But they don’t know what you want / And baby, I would never tell,” he sings in the opening verse, “If they know what I know / They would never let you go.” Sorry, Timberlake, but they sound like one of those lyrics you’d read in a teenager’s diary – Olivia Rodrigo could pull it off, but I’d need more depth from the guy who sang “Perfect For Me” for an animated franchise. And I could literally gag at the “Glad your mama made you” line.
The pre-chorus holds my favorite lines in the entire song: “’Cause your lips were made for mine / And my heart would go flatline / If it wasn’t beatin’ for you all the time.” However, I’m inclined to give Timberlake the benefit of the doubt and say the generic lyrics were there for a reason. Maybe to show us how love isn’t such an original idea after all?
The best thing that the song had to offer, apart from Timberlake’s soulful voice, is its melody, which the composers apparently paid ample attention to.