This eight-minute vulnerable epic finds Timberlake wooing a girl. "You're shining something like a mirror," he sings, "and I can't help but notice you reflecting this heart of mine." Timberlake adds that he has come to the realization that she is his "other half."
While he didn't mention her by name, Timberlake insinuated in an audio clip posted on his website that the song is about his wife, the actress Jessica Biel, whom he married a few months earlier. Said Timberlake:
"It's definitely a special song for me. 'Mirrors' is a love song to someone that you feel like is, sort of your other half. And it became a play on that. Not specifically about looking into a mirror. One of the most valuable things in a relationship is being able to constantly change and be individual, but look to the other side to the person that you're with and know that they're changing as well individually, but somehow you two can mirror each other and be the other half of that world that you both create. I think a relationship, when it's working, is constantly evolving because we as individuals evolve. You want to know that the person you're with is evolving with you. People change like seasons. We're always growing, always evolving, and to know that the other half of a special part of your life is, like I said, mirroring you, but also being an individual in their own way."
The song was offered as a free download when pre-ordering The 20/20 Experience after Timberlake's performance at the 2013 Grammys.
The song was helmed by Timbaland, who executive-produced Timberlake's previous albums Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds.
Timberlake debuted the song during the BRIT Awards 2013 ceremony at the O2 Arena in London on February 20, 2013. His performance was an edited version of the eight minute track that can be found on The 20/20 Experience.
This was Timberlake's second solo UK #1 hit, following "SexyBack
." The former 'N Sync singer has also featured on three other UK chart-topping singles: Timbaland's "Give It To Me
," Madonna's "4 Minutes
" and as an uncredited vocalist, The Black Eyed Peas' "Where Is The Love?
At 8 minutes 5 seconds length, "Mirrors" was the longest-running UK #1 single since Oasis' "All Around The World
" topped the charts in 1998 with a running time of 9 minutes 20 seconds.
The song's music video opens with a dedication to Timberlake's grandma Sadie Bomar and late granddad William Bomar, who passed away in December 2012 after being together for 62 years. The 8-minute clip traces an elderly couple throughout different stages of their lifetime as they "reflect" on their time together over the years. Timberlake doesn't appear in the video until after the 5-minute mark, where he performs some dance moves alongside mirrors. The clip was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who helmed The Runaways movie.
The song's visual won the VMA for Video of the Year at the 2013 MTV awards show. The clip also won Best Editing at the same ceremony. Timberlake also picked up moonmen for Best Direction for the David Fincher-directed "Suit & Tie
" clip and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, which is essentially a lifetime achievement prize.
Justin's 16-minute performance at the MTV awards show was the longest in VMA history and featured a medley of his biggest hits. It included a reunion with his former 'NSYNC band mates for the first time in a decade.
When Timberlake performed this at halftime of the 2018 Super Bowl, the dancers created a coruscating visual effect by holding mirrors to the lights.