Justin Timberlake has reportedly said that his song "What Comes Around.../...Goes Around," from his smash FutureSex/LoveSounds record, is not about Britney Spears. But, both a quick glance and a study of the lyrics make me think JT did have some inspiration from Britney on this one.
For example, here's a verse and part of the chorus:
Is this the way things are going down? Is this how we say goodbye? Should've known better when you came around (should've known better that you were gonna make me cry) That you were going to make me cry Now it's breaking my heart to watch you run around 'Cause I know that you're living a lie But that's okay baby 'cause in time you will find
What goes around, goes around, goes around Comes all the way back around
That sure sounds like a reference to someone we know all too well these days. Many songwriters get ideas for their work based on actual experiences. This song can't be about his time with Cameron, given that they are still seemingly going strong. Nope, this song, judging by the lyrics in their entirety, is about hurt and disappointment that can typically only come from a first true-love-gone-wrong scenario.
It is a terrifically done song that explores emotional depths few of us men are willing to even think about, let alone put out for public consumption. JT owns this tune because he seems to deliver it with the feeling of someone who's been there. Maybe he isn't singing about Britney on this one, but that kind of hurt had to come from somewhere.
Even if it isn't about her, the song is at least a bit of a metaphor for how things have gone for each of them since their breakup in 2002. Britney is obviously still in a downward spiral. Justin, on the other hand, is skyrocketing. He's been a "star" for some time. Now he's reaching new heights and is unquestionably the new "King of Pop." JT is even getting some love from hip indie kids. I was one of those who didn't buy in at first, but performances like this from last weekend's Saturday Night Live appearance show how much he's grown as an artist and a professional. Something his ex hasn't shown any signs of lately.