Justin Timberlake was slated to perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday as part of his continuing Man of the Woods Tour, but he nixed his concert hours before it was to take place on the advice of his doctor.
If you’re more anxious than excited to tap play on a posthumous album—let alone a posthumous album from an icon, a childhood hero—your instincts are probably correct. Look no further than the fallen King of Pop’s first vault excavation, 2010’s Michael, for an exercise in “contemporizing” (barf) original demos, half-finished potential classics and outtakes that fall flat and are, at best, forgettable and, at worst, a slash at the shins of a great legacy.
On the surface, Runner Runner may seem like an enticing thriller, with a proven writing duo, an up and coming director, and two great and appealing actors in Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake leading the cast, but nothing could be further from the truth. It does just enough to prevent audiences from feeling cheated out of their money as they leave the theater, but it’s greatly disappointing on several fronts. Essentially, Runner Runner is a shortcut thriller; it cuts corners that it shouldn’t and tries to move forward too quickly without ever really knowing where it wants to go.
Eight summers ago, Jay-Z described his impossible journey from no-name to brand name in eight sly words: “I’m not a businessman/I’m a business, man.” A triumphant little zinger, no doubt. But what about the rest of us? When an artist self-identifies as a corporate entity, are we still Jay-Z fans? Or are we Jay-Z customers?