Justin Timberlake knows how to craft a hit.
Ever since the pop star first went solo nearly 20 years ago, leaving behind iconic boy band NSYNC with debut solo album Justified in 2002, he's delivered a laundry list of material that's served as the soundtrack of our lives. It's amounted to a discography that most other pop stars would kill to have created. And there's more where that's come from.
Ahead of the superstar's 40th birthday on Jan. 31, he virtually stopped by The Tonight Show for a chat with BFF Jimmy Fallon. While there to promote his new Apple TV+ film Palmer, he let slip that a new album just might be on the way.
"There's a possibility," he said when asked about the likelihood of a something fresh for fans to look forward to. "Let's go with 'yes.' I've been in and out of the studio working on stuff. I played you a few tunes."
While we wait to see what he has up his sleeve, we thought we'd celebrate Justin's birthday by taking a look at all his singles to crack the Billboard Hot 100 over the years and do what we do best: Rank them!
And if your fave isn't on the list, well, that's because it didn't perform on the charts. (Believe us, we were also shocked to learn that "Señorita" only peaked at No. 27.)
Justin's features on these tracks with rappers T.I., Jay Z and 50 Cent, respectively—peaked at Nos. 2, 4 and 5, accordingly—are solid, if somewhat interchangeable. But they're not his songs, so they don't get much more consideration than this. Those are the rules.
This posthumous collaboration with Michael Jackson peaked at No. 9 in 2014. The song's fine. Nothing more, nothing less.
15. "4 Minutes"
Again, another feature. This time on the lead single off Madonna's 2008 album Hard Candy, which peaked at No. 3. The song's a bop, though.
14. "Love Sex Magic"
See the rules above. They also apply to this 2009 Ciara track that peaked at No. 10. That said, this song absolutely still slaps. And the heat CiCi is bringing in the video is out of control.
13. "Give It to Me"
The first of Justin's own material on the list, this lead single off his 2018 album Man of the Woods peaked at No. 9. However, the electro-funk song never really felt like anything more than the sum of its parts, instead feeling like an endeavor into territory he'd previously tread and to much better results.
There's nothing wrong with this mid-tempo ballad, off The 20/20 Experience—2 of 2, which peaked at No. 8 in 2014. It's just baffling that it was the only track off that album to crack the top 10 because there were certainly others more deserving of such success. Justice for "True Blood," a nine-minute electro odyssey that didn't even get the single treatment!
10. "Say Something"
This country-pop ballad off 2018's Man of the Woods, which peaked at No. 9, is probably one of the most sonically successful songs on that odd album, benefiting greatly from the presence of collaborator Chris Stapleton. But in the entirety of Justin's oeuvre, it's not the most memorable thing he's ever made.
9. "Can't Stop the Feeling!"
It feels like we only just got this Trolls theme song, which peaked at No. 1 in 2016, out of our heads. And now here we are, ready to let it worm its way back into our brain once more. The effervescent disco-pop was downright inescapable for a few years, and we can't really blame it. It is a pretty good time.
8. "Summer Love"
This track, the final single off 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds, lives and dies by its wildly inventive production. It's the stomping percussion and skittering synths for us, every time. Peaking at No. 6, it was overshadowed by the album's earlier, more successful singles. But it's still a bop.
7. "Suit & Tie"
As the first single off 2013's The 20/20 Experience, this retro-influenced R&B track felt a bit like Justin was aping Bruno Mars' style, which was all the rage at the time. It was a shrewd move, as the song peaked at No. 3. That said, the chopped and screwed "slow-drawl" intro might be its most interesting element.
6. "My Love"
One of three releases off FutureSex/LoveSounds to reach No. 1, this hip-hop ballad is the probably least interesting of the trio. The production feels reminiscent of a Justified single that we'll get to in a second, but T.I.'s verse is still fire.
5. "What Goes Around...Comes Around"
Another of FutureSex/LoveSounds' No. 1s, this soaring ballad with revenge on its mind is a bit more interesting, stylistically. But, it's essentially a lyrical retread of something he'd already done. And the video, which kills off Scarlett Johansson in a fiery car crash after she's caught kissing Justin's friend just as Justin sings "Girl, you got what you deserve" in the bridge, is unsettling, to say the least.
4. "Cry Me a River"
And now for the song we've been hinting at. Peaking at No. 3, this R&B ballad was the biggest hit off debut album Justified. With production flourishes from Timbaland that would go on to define both artist's sound for years to come, this kiss-off track written about ex Britney Spears is one of the hallmarks of Justin's career. Over the years, the public airing of his and Britney's dirty laundry has left an increasingly bitter taste in our mouth, though. (And the video, in which Justin breaks into his cheating ex's house to film himself having sex with Britney look-alike, is pretty creepy.) But, damn, the song is a marvel of a production and performance.
Peaking at No. 2, this was the most successful release off The 20/20 Experience. And it's not hard to see why. The progressive pop-R&B track is romantic as hell.
When this track, the lead single off FutureSex/LoveSounds, arrived in 2006, it was a whole damn moment. Peaking at No. 1, it was like nothing Justin had done on his debut—braggadocios and slick and, yes, very sexy. And it still hits the same almost 15 full years later.
1. "Rock Your Body"
While "SexyBack" is still very sexy indeed, there's something about this single off Justified that still reigns supreme for us. Full of a disco-kissed warmth courtesy of The Neptunes, the track—which peaked at No. 5—lets Justin's sunny and silky vocals sit front and center. This was the one that set him up as Michael Jackson's heir apparent. And it remains one of his very best.