Justin Timberlake – Drown

Of the singles thus released from Everything I Thought It Was, “Drown” is by far the one with the most emotional clarity and depth. Quite right “Drown” is only in competition with “Selfish” at the moment, but it seems ready to hold a torch to most songs out there right now. If you’ve ever been in a like situation – which I think is highly probable for most people; the human race being what it is – you’d fervently relate to it.

Imagine you have someone you’d do anything for, and now imagine that person won’t even lift a finger to save you; that’s what “Drown” is all about. It’s the typical “I’ll take a bullet for you but you’ll freely use me as a shield” situation. Some people, unfortunately, are like that, and we often have the discomfort of knowing them.

Drown (You left me alone in the dark) / (And you didn’t even try to save me),” he sings in the intro. He then goes on to sing about making the unhappy discovery that someone’s love for him “was the surface,” and whilst he is struggling “in the deep end,” he/she/they “left me alone out in thе dark with all of your demons.

While the single has been much criticized for harking back to his decades-old single “Cry Me A River,” – “Got caught up in the tidе of all the tears you cried” – the song can and does stand on its own as a good song and doesn’t need the controversies to sell it, but I guess even the best of songs these days require a little drama to sell it.

Anyway, once again, instead of marveling at the creativity of the song, it’s just been people pointing out how petty Timberlake is for playing the victim – we of course all assume he’s singing about Britney Spears. The suspicions naturally occur because of the timing of this album to Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me, where she revealed that she and Timberlake could have welcomed a baby together had they chosen to do so – or in Spears’ words, had Timberlake not resisted the idea.

Things further took a turn when Spears apologized to Timberlake for airing their personal details, and in return, Timberlake performed “Cry Me A River” and prefaced it with “I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to absolutely f–king nobody.” So maybe it is all about the drama, but a good song’s still a good song.

For “Drown,” Timberlake worked again with most of his “Selfish” collaborators, that is, Louis Bell, Cirkut, Kenyon Dixon, and Amy Allen.