Justin Timberlake unveiled his first single since 2006 on his website on January 14, 2013. The horn-tinged track finds him singing about his love for being well-dressed. Timberlake's previous album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, was released in 2006, after which he took a break from music to work as an actor in movies such as The Social Network. The singer explained in an open letter to his fans that in June 2012, he "quietly started working on what is now my next journey with that thing I love called MUSIC."
Justin went on to explain that his sessions became his third studio album, The 20/20 Experience. He said: "The inspiration for this really came out of the blue and to be honest, I didn't expect anything out of it. I just went into the studio and started playing around with some sounds and songs. It was probably the best time I've had in my career... Just creating with no rules and/or end goal in mind and really enjoying the process. What I came up with is something I couldn't be more excited about! It is full of inspiration that I grew up listening to and some newfound muses that I've discovered along the way."
This R&B throwback features a guest verse from Jay-Z, and the bass-heavy production stylings of Timbaland. It was penned by Timberlake with Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon whose previous credits include Timbaland's Justin Timberlake featuring single "Carry Out
" and Roc Nation singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy (Destiny's Child's "Nuclear
The song reached #1 on iTunes singles charts in 31 countries, including Brazil, Canada, France, Sweden, the U.S. and the UK.
This scored the highest ever first-week plays on American radio. According to Billboard
, the track got 6,045 plays Stateside in its first seven days, topping previous first-week record holder Lady Gaga's single "Born This Way
," which received 4,602 plays in February 2011.
Timberlake is an investor in the revamped Myspace. The once-dominant social networking site was relaunched on January 15, 2013, conveniently a day after this song was unveiled. The front page of the site featured an image of Timberlake wearing a suit and tie, with the opportunity being given to stream or download the song for joining or signing in to Myspace.
Timberlake shared with 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles how the classic, "Get out your seat, Hov" lyric was born inside the studio with Jay-Z: "I had finished the verses and I was going in to record them and he was sitting in the room working, freestyling to himself. And then he came up with a line he really liked and he jumped out of his seat and he said, 'Uh oh! Get out of that seat, Hov.' And I just thought it was so funny. It made me laugh. I was standing right beside him when he did it and so I just put it on the record, more or less as a joke to him."
Timberlake added that the song harkens back to the glory years of the Rat Pack. "Not to compare ourselves to those guys, but just the fun that they had," he said. "I was picturing like, being at the Sands in Vegas and saying, 'Oh, Jay-Z's in the house tonight. Uh, let's have him come up and do a number. Why don't you go ahead and get out of your seat, Hov?' That's more or less where it came from."
At the Grammy Awards in 2013, Timberlake performed this song with Jay-Z. Timberlake was backed during his retro rendition by a big band. Viewers wondered whether they should adjust their TVs during the black and white telecast of their performance.
The song's black-and-white 1920s throwback video was directed by David Fincher, who is known for bringing cult films like Fight Club
to the screen. Timberlake met the Oscar-nominated director while shooting The Social Network
in 2010. It is not the first time Fincher has dabbled in music promos, having been the man behind the lens on Madonna's "Express Yourself
" clip, which at the time was the most expensive music video in history.
The clip won Best Video at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Timberlake also won Best R&B song for "Pusher Love Girl
" and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Jay-Z's "Holy Grail
" at the same event.
Kanye West criticized the song during a concert, telling fans, "I got love for Hov, but I ain't f---ing with that 'Suit & Tie.'"
A fortnight after West's dissing of the song, Timberlake performed it with Jay-Z on the March 9, 2013 episode of Saturday Night Live
. The singer-songwriter appeared to have changed some of his lyrics in response to Kanye West's criticisms singing, "my hit's so sick got rappers acting dramatic," rather than "Aww, s--t so sick, got a hit and picked up a habit." Justin also performed "Mirrors
" on the show.
Timberlake expounded on his relationship with Jay-Z during an interview with MySpace. "Jay-Z and I have known each other for a while," he explained. "Always had a great relationship. And [Timbaland] and I were in the studio working on some stuff - some potential stuff - for Beyoncé, and Jay came in and we started messing around with stuff, and we worked on a handful of songs together.
"I think we're just kinda the same type of guy," he continued. "He's very relaxed. Easy-going. 'Suit & Tie' came out of that - we were just having fun. We had an extra room in the studio in New York, and I said, I want to do a dance record, but not like a 120 bpm dance record. I want to do like a Marvin Gaye 'Gotta Give It Up
,' Curtis Mayfield, 'Move On Up
The chart-topping success of The 20/20 Experience meant that former N'Sync member Timberlake became the sixth artist in the Billboard 200's history to achieve multiple #1 albums both with a group and as a soloist. Can you guess the others?
Four of them are quite easy - former Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison plus Destiny Child member Beyoncé. The fifth member of the exclusive club is more surprising. Eminem not only notched numerous chart-topping albums as a solo artist but he also achieved two #1s as part of the rap collective D12 - in 2001 with Devil's Night and in 2004 with D12 World.
The 20/20 Experience sold over 580,000 digital copies on iTunes worldwide during its first week on sale. According to Entertainment Weekly, this made it the fastest ever selling album in the Apple store's history for a record's opening week.
The 20/20 Experience was the top selling album of 2013 in the United States It sold 2.43 million during the year, the only album to top two million copies in 2013. Runner-up was Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2, with 1.73 million.
Timberlake performed part of this song at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2018.