What's the meaning behind Justin Timberlake's "Say Something"? The lyrics are culturally relevant
On January 25th, Justin Timberlake released another single off his upcoming album, Man of the Woods. His new song, “Say Something,” featuring Chris Stapleton, seems to fit with the personal theme Timberlake wanted for this album. The lyrics to “Say Something” pack a lot of meaning and emotion, which is something we haven’t really gotten from J.T.’s music before. The sound is like Coldplay meets country, which is a sound we can get behind.
In the accompanying music video to “Say Something,” Timberlake and Stapleton sing live, which makes us well up straight out of the gate. Timberlake belts out the first verse:
He then repeats two major lines throughout the song: “Maybe I’m looking for something I can’t have,” and “Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all.”
To us, the meaning of “Say Something” has a lot to do with the current social climate and how society is looking to celebrities for guidance and momentum. It wasn’t until those in the limelight took a stance against sexual assault and harassment that the rest of America finally took notice of the injustice and the #MeToo movement really took off.
Like the rest of those in the entertainment industry, Timberlake is expected to “say something” about what’s happening. When he did, he was called out for it (for a valid reason). Timberlake came under fire after he wore a Time’s Up pin to the Golden Globes despite his involvement in alleged sexual abuser Woody Allen’s latest film Wonder Wheel.
In “Say Something,” Timberlake is seemingly singing about his desire to either fully commit to the #MeToo movement or stay out of the conversation altogether. And if we’re reading into the song correctly, the lyrics show how self-aware Timberlake is about his failure to commit and about how he must involve himself because of his public image.
The public knows about Timberlake’s hypocrisy, and even though he’s made these mistakes, he still wants “melody and harmony” within society. Maybe Timberlake, and other stars, will never be seen as supportive allies because of their past decisions. Perhaps he’s looking for something he can’t have in that he will never be able to convince everyone he’s on the right side of history — even though in his heart, he is.
Timberlake is slated to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show this coming Sunday. We hope he takes “Say Something” to the stage. His album Man of the Woods comes out February 2nd.