Take Back the Night

Album: The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2 (2013)
Charted: 22 29

Songfacts®:

  • The lead single from The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2 finds Timberlake reuniting with previous collaborators Timbaland, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon and James Fauntleroy to soundtrack a good night ahead as the singer invites the object of his affection to join him on the dance floor. The song was released on July 12, 2013.
  • The sensual disco track shares its name with the Take Back the Night Foundation, an international group that runs marches and rallies intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of sexual violence. Some critics pointed out the irony of the raunchy video for Timberlake's previous single "Tunnel Vision," getting criticism in its own right for its objectification of women.

    The fact that Timberlake's lyrics for this song were so provocative and suggestive was of concern to the Foundation: "The lyrics are definitely very sexual and not at all clearly anti-sexual violence," Take Back The Night Board Director Katie Koestner told Radar Online. 'Use me,' for example, is not a great phrase for anyone affiliated with the organisation. All of a sudden on Wikipedia, 'Take Back the Night' has a different definition. That's not been helpful."

    Because the Take Back The Night organization trademarked their name back in 1973, people looking to use the name must check in with them first. As Timberlake omitted to do so their legal counsel sent him a letter saying "You used our name without our permission." said Koestner. "They got back to us and said they're sorry."

    "His agent said, 'Justin's a good guy! He's a family man!' They claimed he'd never heard of us before he wrote that song," she added. "I don't know what country he's been in. I suppose it could have slipped off his radar screen somehow. Somebody working for him definitely messed up... because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name."
  • The accompanying music video was directed by the team of Jeff Nicholas, Jonathan Craven, and Darren Craig for the Uprising Creativesees. It sees Timberlake having a dance-off with a young boy on the streets of Chinatown in the blackness of a New York evening. He then makes his way to an intimate club where he performs the song on stage. The visual is spliced with live footage from Timberlake's Legends of the Summer world tour with Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium.

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