Justin Timberlake releases new single, announces upcoming album

The wait -- all three days of it -- is over.

After posting a cryptic video message on his website Thursday in which he said he was “ready,” Justin Timberlake released a new single Sunday night, confirming what widespread social-media buzz over the weekend had supposed to be the case: Timberlake, the boy-band superstar turned Hollywood heavyweight, has returned to music.

A slow-rolling electro-soul jam with a guest appearance by Jay-Z, “Suit & Tie” was co-produced by Timberlake, Timbaland and Jerome “J-ROC” Harmon and precedes an album, “The 20/20 Experience,” to be released this year, according to a statement from Timberlake’s label, RCA Records. Listen to the song at Timberlake’s site.

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“Back in June of last year, I quietly started working on what is now, my next journey with that thing I love called MUSIC,” the singer wrote in a so-called open letter to his fans. “The inspiration for this really came out of the blue and to be honest, I didn’t expect anything to come out of it. I just went into the studio and started playing around with some sounds and songs. It was probably the best time I’ve had in my career... Just creating and with no rules and/or end goal in mind and really enjoying the process.”

“The 20/20 Experience” will be the singer’s first album since 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” which spawned hits including “SexyBack” and “My Love” and has sold more than 10 million copies around the world.

In the intervening years, Timberlake, 31, concentrated on an acting career with roles in “The Social Network” and on “Saturday Night Live,” and has been involved in a relaunch of Myspace.

At press time “Suit & Tie” -- still percolating here at Pop & Hiss headquarters after half a dozen spins -- was at No. 1 on iTunes’ singles chart.


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