Hey everyone! Each semester, I like to share at least a couple of the projects I worked on because A) you guys keep asking me to and B) tbh it’s kinda nice to show this stuff off to someone besides the professor and maybe some of my classmates?
Music Journalism seems like an excellent candidate for this, since we have very frequent and very short assignments. A while back, my prof instructed us to write a review of the Super Bowl LII halftime show.
I had great fun with the assignment. As you will soon see.
If, at your friend’s Super Bowl party, you fell asleep in front of the TV after pigging out on chips and dip and woke up to Justin Timberlake’s halftime show hoping it was a bad dream caused by indigestion, no one would blame you. Your friend looks at you sadly: “Remember when the halftime show was good?”
As someone who wasn’t even born when NSYNC began their career and is still fairly unfamiliar with Timberlake’s music, this was not a promising introduction. Rather than experiencing the nostalgia of the previous generation, I related to the awkward kid taking a selfie with him during “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” the only song that seemed to get a reaction from even diehard fans during what was the least energetic halftime show I have ever seen.
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” was the last track. It should have come first.
It was like watching my dad trying too hard to be cool.
The singer himself didn’t seem all that excited to be there, with his dancers and backup singers providing most of the entertainment. During “Mirrors,” dancers whirled about holding giant mirrors, flashing bursts of light throughout the stadium in the only visually appealing portion of the performance. Timberlake had approximately the same command of his stage as a hapless, self-conscious soloist at a middle school talent show.
The past three years’ headlining acts have each had a strong sense of purpose driving their performances. Katy Perry provided pure fun. Beyoncé brought a powerful political message. Lady Gaga focused on the avant garde.
Justin Timberlake, by contrast, did not seem particularly engaged in this, his third Super Bowl performance, at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Drawing upon Prince’s connection to the city, Timberlake beamed an enormous floating image of the late artist in the sky above him.
When your Super Bowl performance relies on riding the coattails of past and more charismatic halftime shows, it might be a sign that it’s time to accept that the world has moved on from you.
Bye, bye, bye, indeed.