Justin Timberlake and producer extraordinaire Timbaland have enjoyed an incredibly fruitful relationship, and during the years the two have been collaborating, they have scored at least 15 top 10 hits on the Hot 100 together, including several No. 1 smashes, and that number has recently risen. The powerful pairing are back at the top of the all-encompassing listing of the 100 most popular songs in America, though most Americans probably don’t realize they’re back in charge because their names aren’t listed at the peak.
As pop singer Halsey climbs to the peak with her single “Without Me”, she claims her first No. 1 on her own (she hit the top in 2016 as a featured artist on The Chainsmokers’ “Closer”), but when one looks at all the talents who worked behind the scenes on the catchy cut, it’s clear that Halsey didn’t get there “without” help.
“Without Me” interpolates Timberlake’s single “Cry Me a River” on the bridge, and because of just a few lines, both the former boyband member and Timbaland, who co-wrote and co-produced the second single from Timberlake’s debut solo album Justified, are labeled as co-writers on Halsey’s smash.
The current leader confirmed her use of a handful of lines from “Cry Me a River” in a tweet she shared just a short time after “Without Me” was released, since she wanted to clear up a bit of confusion. Her use of lyrics from Timberlake and Timbaland’s composition is technically an interpolation, as she changes things up ever so slightly to fit the needs of her hit.
“Without Me” passes the peak of “Cry Me a River”, which lifted as high as No. 3 back in 2003. While it didn’t end up running the show, the song did help establish Timberlake as a true star in his own right, and it separated him from *NSYNC once and for all.