Just over a week after he released the controversial video for "Tunnel Vision," Justin Timberlake took to YouTube on Friday to premiere "Take Back the Night," the lead single from his upcoming album.
A slinky disco-soul cut reminiscent of "Off the Wall"-era Michael Jackson, "Take Back the Night" is the first sample from "The 20/20 Experience -- 2 of 2," Timberlake's sequel to this year's "The 20/20 Experience," which Billboard recently identified as the year's biggest-selling album so far.
The new disc, due out Sept. 30, contains 11 new songs, including "a special surprise from Justin," according to a statement.
"I originally recorded a massive amount of material and decided on the 20 tracks that I wanted on the album over a year ago," Timberlake said in the statement. "But when I was mixing and going through all of the songs there were so many that I loved -- I couldn't resist... I had to throw in something extra on the second half."
Though its current place-holder video contains none of the nudity that got "Tunnel Vision" banned from (and then reinstated by) YouTube, "Take Back the Night" hasn't escaped criticism.
Early Saturday, RadarOnline reported that the anti-sexual-violence foundation with which Timberlake's song shares a name sent the singer "a letter Friday from our legal counsel saying, 'You used our name without our permission.' "
"Everyone at Take Back the Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name," Radar quoted the group's Katherine Koestner as saying. "Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause."
According to the website, one of Timberlake's representatives apologized and said the singer wasn't familiar with the Take Back the Night organization before he wrote the song.
We'll leave that matter to Koestner and her associates to sort out. But what bums out Pop & Hiss is that "Take Back the Night" sounds like a weak outtake from "The 20/20 Experience"; it's plush but not luxurious, funky but not propulsive. And, as is becoming Timberlake's wont, it goes on for too long.
Listen to the song below and decide for yourself.