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Meaning of ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around’ by ‘Justin Timberlake’

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Released: 2006

Kicking things off, let’s talk about Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around… Comes Around”. It’s a pop-meets-R&B tune, with a tale of love gone wrong, betrayal, and karma, which is just a fancy term for the golden rule – what you do to others will eventually come back to you in some way.

The lyrics peel back a story of a man who gave his all to a girl, but she left him high and dry. When he sings “You had me in the palm of your hand”, he’s saying that he was completely devoted to her, and she had complete control over him. The repeated phrase “I guess I was wrong” shows his shock and disappointment in his perceived reality.

One major theme in this song is the idea of karma, or as Timberlake puts it, “What goes around, goes around, goes around.” It’s a reminder that actions have consequences, and here, he’s telling his ex that her actions will come back to her. The phrase “Comes all the way back around” means the consequences will return to the person who sent the actions out.

The part where he sings, “I know that you’re living a lie” shows that he’s aware she’s not being true to herself or him. He knows she’s being dishonest in her current relationship, just like she was with him. His tone is almost sympathetic toward the end, implying that he’s moved on, but he knows she’s still stuck in her cycle of dishonesty and hurt.

In the last part, Timberlake sings “You spend your nights alone, And he never comes home, And every time you call him, All you get’s a busy tone.” Here, the tables have turned. The girl who left him is now going through the same feelings of heartbreak and loneliness that she once caused him. It’s a lesson in empathy – experiencing what you once made others feel.

In sum, “What Goes Around… Comes Around” is a powerful narrative about the consequences of our actions in love and life. It’s a reminder that even in the world of glitzy pop, actions have consequences and karma doesn’t play favorites.

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