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Russell Baillie of The New Zealand Herald noted, "The producer's angular synthesizer crunch is all over it – at best on the single 'Sexy Back' where they dispense with a chorus, leaving the song sustained by its vocal fireworks, electrofunk and Timberlake's repeated declaration that 'I'm bringing sexy back.Andrew Murfett of The Age wrote that the song was a "raunchy club banger that slyly suppresses" Timberlake's customary falsetto.In Australia, the track was Timberlake's second number-one single, spending two consecutive weeks at the top.
And then there's the unique thing of Timbaland acting as a narrator, saying things like 'take it to the bridge', or 'yeah'. It's two guys interacting." Timberlake said that the chorus was "very James Brown-ish, call out and repeat, like 'Sex Machine'." He wrote the track "from top to bottom. In the Billboard magazine review of the album, contributor Katy Kroll wrote that Timberlake "claims to be bringing 'sexy' back to pop music, and indeed he is.
"I listened to the radio for a few months and thought, 'All this sounds like shit, what do I want to hear? I had to create something unique otherwise there's no point putting it out." "Justin [Timberlake] goes in the chorus 'Go head be gone with it', I called the song 'Be Gone With It', just to label it. I definitely didn't think it would become the most worn-out phrase of 2006.
So they're developing this song and they're going nuts and loving it, and as they play it, and I'm like: 'I don't think this hook is strong enough.' But then, at the very last minute, Justin very, very cleverly decided to call it 'Sexyback', and that changed the whole dimension of the song. It just sounded like a nice opening to the song." Charlie Brooker for The Guardian, in regards to the lyric, "them other fuckers don't know how to act", writing that Timberlake's translation is of him telling everyone in the world that they are a "clueless fornicator".
It was released on July 18, 2006, to US mainstream and rhythmic radio stations by Jive Records as the lead single from the album.
The song was written and produced by Nate Hills, Tim Mosley, and Timberlake himself.