The samba-like track dropped out of the blue on Tuesday (July 3), with the whispered intro “summer starts now,” suggesting that JT hopes to throw his straw hat into the ring for the hot weather jam of 2018.

Produced by frequent Drake collaborator Nineteen85 (“Hotline Bling,” “One Dance”), the song is credited to writers Timberlake and Nineteen85, along with Lechas Young, James Fauntleroy (J. Cole, Big Sean), Jagged Edge’s Brian and Brandon Casey and Gary Smith.

Over a shuffling rhythm and low, bouncing  keyboard line reminiscent of a classic Lionel Richie hit, the song opens with Timberlake seductively singing, “I love your heartbeat givin’ me rhythm/ And I can feel your frequency, so unique/ In other words, such a freak, set me free,” before shifting into the pleading chorus, “I wanna be, wanna be/ I wanna be, I wanna be your/ Soulmate for the night/ Let me put my soul on you, it’s only right/ Let me pull you up out your body, into mine/ Let me be your soulmate for the night.”

Like the higher points of Timberlake’s not universally praised Man of the Woods album, the mid-tempo “SoulMate” is a welcome return to JT’s more buttery, body-moving sound, with the influence of Nineteen’s tropical funk production evident in the song’s insistent rhythm.

It was unclear at press time what the singer — who just hopped over to Paris for Tuesday night’s kick-off of the European leg of the Man of the Woods tour — is planning with Nineteen and Fauntleroy. But in a recent conversation with Complex, Timberlake had high praise for the recent spate of G.O.O.D. Music albums released by Kanye West as well as Drake’s Scorpion.


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