Justin Timberlake’s shiny new ‘Mirrors’ track reflects on love, life

“Mirrors” is the sort of jam you’d put on at the end of a movie about a guy who rides a motorcycle and finally gets the girl. Except maybe he’s Zac Efron or something. Maybe he’s wearing a cool leather jacket and makes out with Rihanna. I don’t know. The fact is that Justin Timberlake released a song on the same day a Pope quit (POPES DON’T QUIT!) – so naturally the reception to this song will be more muted than usual.

It’s a straightforward ballad that almost – almost – recalls his early work. In fact, it could very easily be misidentified as a vintage pop song. I’m sure people who shop at Old Navy will really like it, and that, ultimately, is all that matters. It bears all the hallmarks of A Popular Song™: it’s earnest, epic, and has lyrics seemingly ripped straight out of the diary of a teenage girl. It isn’t “Sexy Back” – it isn’t a game changer. But around halfway through it shifts into a minimalist R&B breakdown that actually sounds unmistakably like 2013 pop music. Timberlake, once again, turned something that could have been shit into something that actually sounds interesting. Like ‘N Sync, Myspace, and radio friendly pop music. Bravo, Mister Timberlake.