"Cry Me a River"
A blueish colored portrait of a young blonde man who is wearing a black shirt and a black leather jacket. In the left bottom corner is written his name "Justin Timberlake" and the track's title 'Cry Me a River' in white letters.
Single by Justin Timberlake
from the album Justified
Released November 25, 2002 (2002-11-25)
Format CD singlemaxi single12"
Recorded 2002; Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Genre FunkR&B
Length 4:48
Label Jive
Writer(s) Justin Timberlake • Timothy MosleyScott Storch
Producer(s) Timbaland
Justin Timberlake singles chronology
"Like I Love You"
"Cry Me a River"
"Work It"

"Cry Me a River" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Justin Timberlake for his debut studio album, Justified (2002). It was written by Timberlake and Scott Storch with producer Timbaland, and was inspired by Timberlake's former relationship with singer Britney Spears. Jive Records released the song to contemporary hit and rhythmic radio in the United States on November 25, 2002, as the album's second single. Accompanied by an electric piano, beatbox, guitars, synthesizers, Arabian-inspired riffs and Gregorian chants, "Cry Me a River" is a funk and R&B song about a brokenhearted man who moves on from his last girlfriend, who had cheated on him with another man.

The single received generally positive reviews from critics, who considered it a stand-out track on Justified and praised Timbaland's production. It won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 ceremony. The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Pop Songs charts and charted in the top ten in other countries. It was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).

Filmmaker Francis Lawrence directed the music video for "Cry Me a River" in Malibu, California. In the video, Timberlake's character spies on his ex-lover and shows her the love for his new partner. Spears alleged that the video was a publicity stunt, but Timberlake maintained that she did not inspire the production. The clip won the awards for Best Male Video and Best Pop Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Timberlake performed "Cry Me a River" on his four major concert tours: Justified World Tour (2003–04), Justified/Stripped Tour (2003), FutureSex/LoveShow (2007), and The 20/20 Experience World Tour (2013–15). The song has been covered by various recording artists, including Leona Lewis and Taylor Swift. Spears recorded an answer song titled "Everytime" for her 2003 studio album In the Zone.

Writing and productionEdit

A blonde woman wearing a black and white top and black pants is performing

Timberlake admitted in December 2011 that the inspiration for "Cry Me a River" was his ended relationship with Britney Spears.

Timberlake and Scott Storch wrote "Cry Me a River" with Timbaland, who produced the song. Storch found working with Timberlake easy because of the song's meaning. Reporters believed its lyrics were inspired by Timberlake's romantic relationship with American recording artist Britney Spears, which ended in 2002. Timberlake told MTV News, "I'm not going to specifically say if any song is about anybody. I will say writing a couple of songs on the record helped me deal with a couple of things. To me songs are songs. They can stem from things that completely happened to you personally or they can stem from ideas that you think could happen to you." In December 2011, Timberlake admitted that he had written "Cry Me a River" after an argument with Spears: "I was on a phone call that was not the most enjoyable phone call. I walked into the studio and he [Timbaland] could tell I was visibly angry. Timbaland recalled, "I was like, 'Man, don't worry about it' and he was like, 'I can't believe she did that to me' and he was like, 'You were my sun, you were my earth'".

"Cry Me a River" was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles by Senator Jimmy D, while Carlos "Storm" Martinez served as the assistant engineer. Jimmy Douglass and Timbaland mixed the song at Manhattan Center Studios in New York City. Timberlake arranged the vocals and was a backup singer alongside Timbaland, Marsha Ambrosius, Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing. Storch compared Timberlake's vocals on "Cry Me a River" to R&B and rock singer Daryl Hall. Larry Gold provided the string arrangement and conducting, while Storch and Bill Pettaway played the clavinet and guitar, respectively.

Release and responseEdit

"Cry Me a River" was released as the second single from Justified. Jive Records serviced the song to contemporary and rhythmic radio in the United States on November 25, 2002. On December 23, three remixes were released as a 12-inch single in Canada and France. On January 5, 2003, the song was sent to urban contemporary radio stations in the US. It was released as a CD single in Germany on January 23. The single contains the album version of the song and the remixes on its 12-inch single release.

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