Justin Timberlake's New Merch, Rated by Usefulness in Survival Scenarios

The Man of the Woods is releasing a custom piece of merch for every song on his album. Can they outlast a grizzly bear, though?

Have we, collectively, beaten this joke into the ground? Do we need to keep piling onto Justin Timberlake for the rural marketing campaign for his more-Neptunes-than-Nashville album Man of the Woods? Well, we would stop, but the dude keeps making things all too easy for us. Take this week, for example. JT announced via Instagram that he would be collaborating with several brands to create merch for all 16 songs on Man of the Woods. The list includes typically outdoorsy names like Levi's, Yeti, and Pendleton, along with streetwear brands for some reason. So, these items may make you look and feel cool, but will they do you any good in the wild? Let's examine the lineup we have so far:


"Midnight Summer Jam" Cooler

A cooler isn't just a cooler, as this bonkers piece by HuffPo points out. You can repurpose it into any kind of storage unit for car tools and pool chemicals(???) if you happen to have those handy. But what we really aren't talking about is this cooler's other use: a blunt object with which to fend off attacking beasts. Just load it up with rocks and you're good to crack some skulls, even if you can't actually lift it anymore. Supremely useful; it gets a 9/10.

"Sauce" Whiskey Flask

Obviously, you can use this to keep in water from the babbling streams you'll hike next to. However, this flask is made of pewter, which has historically contained lead. The Best Made, Co. site says all their flasks are lead-free, so maybe you have nothing to worry about. Still, can't hurt to be too careful here. You guys ever heard of the Roman Empire? Thought not. You know why? That's right. Colica pictorum. 4/10.

"Wave" Sunglasses

This really depends on which biome you're trying to survive in. A barren desert? Go ahead. Rainforest? Not so much. Assuming that you're in a temperate, cloudy North American forest for this scenario, the only use the shades would have is to like… look dope while facing down a wolverine, I guess. 10/10 (tropical climate) 3/10 (everywhere else).

"Higher Higher" Nike Airs

If you use these you can probably summon Jordan or a squad of hypebeasts to assist you on your journeys. Otherwise, it's just good to be able to run with proper support, but the amount of uneven and/or rocky ground you'll encounter hampers the effectiveness somewhat. 6/10.


"Morning Light" Pancho/Blanket Thing

Right, so this is good to keep warm by that fire you took four hours to start with sparks and twigs. The thing everyone forgets about when surviving is camouflage, however. In the 2004 masterpiece Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, mercenary Naked Snake needs to elude superpowered Soviet agents in the forests of Russia using his wits, strength, and his capacity to actually digest live snakes. What he (and you, as the player) needs to pay attention to is his camo index at the top-right of the screen. The higher the percentage, the better Snake is disguised, and each outfit has a different number value. In Snake Eater, Justin Timberlake's stylish but very gaudy blanket would probably add -100 to the camo index, making it easily the worst item in the game. Why even bother? -100/10.

"Say Something" Notebook

Very good in case you disappear under mysterious circumstances and need to warn those who follow you not to do so. They won't listen, though. They never listen. 9/10.

"Hers/Flannel" Literal Flannel

Har har. Buttoned-up-clothing is useful, though. You can fan it out to make yourself look larger to a bear, thus making it less likely to attack you. If not, you can also be Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall and just go at the animal with nothing to protect you, thusly providing audiences with arguably the greatest, strangest film ending of all time. "'Twas a good death," indeed. 8/10.


"Montana" Denim, Coats, and other Outerwear

Not only can you use these in anti-bear tactics, the sheer variety of textures here means that you can easily hide yourself from anything or anyone that's after you. In other words, these would all be in the upper range of the camo index in Snake Eater, the greatest survival story of our time. Plus, the game's title theme song is easily better than anything off Man of the Woods. +100/10.

So, these are overall actually rather useful. Except the blanket. The blanket sucks. Perhaps if JT had gone full-throttle with the outdoorsmanship, rather than a pop-up shop, he'd be scoring better here. For someone who maintains he has the supplies (ies-ies) to survive the fall of civilization, Timberlake should step it up. He's no Naked Snake, is what I'm saying here.

Phil is still in a dream but not eating snakes on Twitter.