The Lyrics and Meaning of 'Cry me a river' (Justin Timberlake)
What do you think of when you hear the phrase "Cry Me a River?" For most people, it conjures up images of someone being sad or crying. But for Justin Timberlake, the phrase has a much more personal meaning.
The song was released in 2002, during Timberlake's early days as a solo artist. At the time, he was coming off of a very public break-up with pop star Britney Spears. The song is rumored to be about his feelings towards Spears after she cheated on him, and it's widely believed that the music video is a direct response to Spears' own infidelity.
"Cry Me a River" was an instant success, reaching the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and earning Justin Timberlake a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Whether the song is actually about his relationship with Spears, there's no denying that it is an incredibly personal, and the timing of the release and the lyrical content certainly make it seem that way.
A Glimpse at the Lyrics
"Cry Me a River" starts with Justin singing about how he used to believe in love. "You were my sun… my earth..." This could be interpreted as him being naive about love, or it could be referencing his break-up with Spears specifically. He then talks about how he gave his "all" to somebody, and they just "threw it all away."
The chorus of the song is where he really starts to lay into whomever he is singing about. "You don't have to say, what you did... I found out from him..." He's saying that he knows what they did, and that there is no chance of getting back together. He talks about how this person "doesn't care" and how they "lied" to him. It's clear that he is hurt and angry, and he wants the person who did this to him to know just how much pain they've caused. The song then culminates with a final plea to the person who has hurt him. "Now it's your turn (it's your turn) to cry" he sings. He's saying that now it's their turn to experience the pain and hurt that they've caused him.
It's a vicious cycle, but Timberlake is making it clear that he's not going to be the one who suffers anymore. The final lines of the song see him coming to terms with what has happened, as he sings, "The damage is done… Now you just cry me a river ..." He has finally accepted that the relationship is over, and he's ready to move on.
How the Song Reflects Timberlake Life and Career - Chart Success
In addition to being a massive commercial success, "Cry Me a River" was also a critical darling. The song earned him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and it was widely praised for its lyrical depth and emotion. The song is often seen as a reflection of Timberlake's own life and career. Although the interpretation blatantly references the break-up with Spears, it can also be seen as a metaphor for his transition from boy-band star to solo artist.
When Justin first came onto the scene as a member of NSYNC, he was seen as the clean-cut, nice guy of the group. But after his break-up with Spears, he reinvented himself as a solo artist, and this song was seen as his way of breaking free from his boy-band image. The song marked a new era for Timberlake, and it cemented him as a bona fide solo artist. From that point on, he has gone on to have an incredibly successful career, and it is often seen as the song that started it all.
Final Take Away
"Cry Me a River" is Timberlake's ode to recovery - his declaration that he has moved on from his past relationship. The lyrics reflect on how losing love can leave someone feeling betrayed and resentful. However, ultimately, Justin conveys how he has grown from the experience and is ready to move forward. This message is delivered through clever metaphors and imagery related to water. Overall, this is an empowering break-up anthem that demonstrates Timberlake's talent for creating complex yet relatable lyrics.