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Justin Timberlake did not create the song of the summer (but he sure did try)

Justin Timberlake attends the ceremony honoring *NSYNC with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

LIONEL HAHN, ABACA PRESS/TNS

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By MIKAEL WOOD | Los Angeles Times (TNS) | Published: July 5, 2018

“Summer starts now,” Justin Timberlake announces at the top of his new single, “SoulMate,” and even he has to know that’s not true.

(At the very latest, summer started Friday, when Drake’s song “Summer Games” - a far superior summer jam - came out.)

But you can understand why Timberlake would want to get us thinking about warm weather, since that means we’re less likely to be thinking about “Man of the Woods,” the flannel-y winter-vibes dud he dropped to a resounding thud back in February.

Also: Summer is traditionally a time of victory for Timberlake, who dominated the season two years ago with the inescapable “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from, uh, “Trolls.”

Alas, “SoulMate” - a vaguely tropical entreaty to “let me pull you up out your body into mine” (weird phrasing!) - is not quite up to the job that Timberlake has set himself here.

It’s melodic without being especially catchy, rhythmic but unlikely to get anyone moving. (Speaking of Drake, the song was produced by Nineteen85, who also did the rapper’s sensuous “Hotline Bling” and “Hold On We’re Going Home.”)

Do those halfway charms mean that “SoulMate,” released Tuesday without warning, is better than anything on the leaden “Man of the Woods”?

Duh. But then so is a third-degree sunburn.

© 2018 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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