When one hears the name, "Justine Skye," immediately (for those who are aware), they are transported back to the early days of Tumblr, where the young singer reigned supreme. Creating originals and covers, the 25-year-old, Brooklyn native garnered much attention receiving her first deal with Atlantic Records back in 2013. From there, her popularity continued to grow. Three years following the deal, she then signed with Roc Nation in 2016 to release her debut album, Ultraviolet. Since then, the now independent singer has built up quite the discography. With over half a dozen projects under her belt, she's managed to remain consistent dropping sneaky gems and catchy melodious bangers that manage to stop listeners in their tracks. However, her projects as a whole usually fall short of creating unforgettable forces within the heavily saturated R&B realm.
However, on her third album, Space and Time, Justine undergoes a metamorphic evolution. Skye referred to the album as "the bad b*tch manual" when speaking with Apple Music. Released Friday (Jun. 25) The Timbaland-produced album holds 11 songs with as well as a visual for her "Twisted Fantasy" single. As for features, while Timbaland can be heard throughout the entirety of the album, there are only two listed features: Justin Timberlake on the eerie, nostalgic "Innocent," and Rema on the Afrobeats-influenced, "Twisted Fantasy." When speaking about the legend that is Timbaland, Skye shares her excitement for the new sound and era.
“My story and my sound finally unite,” Skye said of her new album in a press release. “I’ve never been as vulnerable or as candid as I am on this album. I’m really laying it all out, having fun, talking sh*t, and being me.”
Both Skye and Timbo began working together by way of social media. Through various live sessions on Instagram, the two were able to birth a very meaningful connection, take time, and make music that truly resonated on the inside of Skye.
"This was the first time I actually sat down and really thought it through, and I think, the first time that I'm actually saying a lot of things that I always probably wanted to but didn't know how to," Skye tells Apple Music.
Space and Time immediately begins Skye's evolution on the opener, "Conscious." Very dramatic and theatrical, Skye utters the phrase, "Where have you been?" harmoniously over Timbaland's mystical production. Almost meditative, her voice is restoring and calming. The futuristic sounds of Timbaland are quickly felt on "About Time." Very nostalgic, Timbaland travels back in time as he introduces Justine on the track. Justine's melting vocals feel at ease and comfortable. She calls out those she once thought were there for her, but she now sees were snakes in grass. Whether old friends or lovers, she knows better. She's stronger. Despite being let down in the past, she focuses her sights on her beautiful future ahead.
Experimentation and risks pay off on the pop-influenced "In My Bag." Playful and confident, Justine says all the things she never knew she could say. Here, Victoria Monét lends her extraordinary pen to help bring this championing track to life. Instead of focusing on heartbreak and other meaningless bullsh*t, Justine focuses on getting to the cash, and "poppin that p***y and shaking that a**." The anthem feels perfect for the summer and even social media platforms like TikTok. "In My Bag" is definitely one of those tracks that will have the ladies ready to throw some posterior in a circle without a single care. Instead of focusing on that partner who may have hurt you, Skye encourages all her listeners to be present, live life, and keep grinding.
On "Do It Right," Justine reverses the gender roles. Instead of being the dammsale in distress she takes control of the situation. Instead of waiting for any of these guys to act right, she uses them as she pleases. She plays with the double standard that is seen when it comes to men and women in relationships. She sings, "You ain't the only one I see/Ain't the only one I need here/But if you play your cards right, hmm /Baby, you're mine, only for the night." Her feelings continue to intensify on "Intruded." Another standout, Justine's voice floats over Timbaland's slow burning, bass-slapping production. Nostalgia continues to fill the air as the record feels like something from the 2000's but it sounds so good. While trying to escape her feelings for her lover, the love for him flows through her innately. She knows her love is nearly inescapable. And while the two of them try to run from each other, they can't resist one another.
The second half of Space and Time kicks off with the shadowy "Innocent." Here, Justine and Justin team up on their first collaboration. Sampling the late-great Aaliyah's "If Your Girl Only Knew," the two create an all new vibe and appeal. With Justin's spine-tingling, phone-like vocals on the chorus, the song just feels so... sinister. Justine's sultry vocalism elevates the record as the two remind each other that neither of them are innocent in either of their actions. Justine brings this smoothness that transports listeners back to his Justified days. The record is definitely another standout on the project.
On "We" Justine brings the feels on the emotive track. She sings about being hurt and "in agony" from this relationship. Having dealt with the pain, deceit, and anguish, her heart has been weakened and she no longer desires to put herself through the emotional turmoil. As the journey through Space and Time continues, listeners arrive at the album's lead single, "Twisted Fantasy"
Over the upbeat, peculiar production, Justine and Rema unite for this eerie track. The song begins with a rather relaxed Skye who sings about hitting her lover up after a night of a few drinks. Lusty and boozed up, the rather... "twisted" fantasies in her mind take control of her leaving her with no choice but addressing the feelings. Rema provides a smooth, silky verse and adds that Afrobeats flavor to this suave mix.
The theme of sh*t talking returns on the blatant "Hey Sucka." Skye calls her former flame a lame ass, broke ass, and even sends them off with a bold "f*ck you" as she airs him out for the slimy distasteful ways he's moved. The track also recruits Ambré's genius pen for the airy record. The brevity continues on the rather aggressive, "Hypnotized." Again, Justine continues to talk her sh*t and back it up. She reminds her partner that the only reason anyone even checks for him is because of her.
"Boo, I'm the only reason anybody look at you
If your name pop up it's 'cause it was my agenda
These days, n*ggas think they sweet till they end up Bеin' just a friend of me, yeah."
Space and Time's last track ends on a lighter note. The rather forgettable "Mmm Mmm" infuses both the elements of Afrobeats and pop while creating this swirling night club aesthetic. While unneeded, the song feels like a never ending party filled with a night of heavy alcoholic consumption and dancing.
Ultimately, Space and Time definitely possesses memorable cuts. Honestly, Justine is at her best on this project. With Timbaland‘s leadership and trademark production, her sound is further defined. Her voice is sharper, stronger, and even more vibrant. While each of her previous works gave listeners glimpses into what she desired her sound to be, Space and Time allows her to fully express herself in ways she was incapable of in the past.
More confident, outspoken, and open, she boldly speaks her mind. Although Space and Time does not necessarily act as her defining moment as a star, it does propel Skye in that direction.
The album thrives off of nostalgic appeal that manages to also create brand new sounds alongside innovative risks and fun futuristic energy. Space and Time is also clear. It allows the world to see a more candid side of Justine. Everything she desires to say, she says. She allows herself to be present and feel every emotion. Even though the album may not be many listeners’ candidate for album-of-the year, it is most definitely a solid listen. Justine reassures listeners and fans alike that she is much more than a model and pretty face. With the ball in her court, Justine controls her narrative exactly as she pleases.
Space and Time receives a 7.5/10.
Top 5 songs from Space and Time:
In My Bag
Do It Right
HM: About Time, Hey Sucka
Stream Justine Skye's Space and Time below on Apple Music or across other streaming platforms.