Cry Me a River (Justin Timberlake song): Wikis


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"Cry Me a River"
Single by Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland
from the album Justified
Released December 28, 2002 (U.S. Top 40 entry)
Format Digital download, CD single, 12" single
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop, R&B
Length 4:48
Label Jive
Writer(s) Justin Timberlake
Producer Timbaland and Scott Storch
Certification Silver France[1]
Justin Timberlake singles chronology
"Like I Love You"
"Cry Me a River"
"Work It"
Timbaland singles chronology
"Ching Ching"
"Cry Me a River"
Music video
"Cry Me a River" at YouTube

"Cry Me a River" is the second single from Justin Timberlake's solo debut album Justified. Released on December 17, 2002, the single, which features guest vocals and production by Timbaland & Scott Storch, won Timberlake a Grammy Award for "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance" in 2004. The song title comes from "Cry Me a River", written in 1953 by Arthur Hamilton and sung by Julie London in the cult Jayne Mansfield movie The Girl Can't Help It.


Background information

The song is supposedly a re-telling of Timberlake's split with Britney Spears. Including accusations of her infidelity with lyrics like, "You don't have to say what you did/I already know, I found out from him/Now there's just no chance, for you and me, there'll never be/And don't it make you sad about it." The music video, directed by Francis Lawrence, depicts him exacting revenge upon Spears, portrayed by Lauren Hastings, by breaking into her house and filming himself with another woman kissing passionately, and watching as she returns to find the video playing on her television. The video's success started a feud between producer Timbaland and Scott Storch, who claimed he was uncredited for producing (the booklet credits him as clavinet player and writer). Also, even though publicly uncredited, Benjamin Wright did string arrangements in this song.[2]


Rumors of Britney Spears cheating as the underlying reason of their breakup eight months before had been surfacing for a while, and for many, the song and the music video confirmed their beliefs. US Weekly ran a cover story, titled "Britney Vs. Justin: The War Is On", immediately after the release of the video. Timberlake, however, said, "The video is not about her. The video is about me." [3]

Yet according to Spears' account in an October 2003 Rolling Stone interview,[4] she received a call from Timberlake saying he supposedly wanted to get back together with her and craftily added on that she was in a music video with him saying, "Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal." Spears, who had not seen the video, admits to naively allowing him to do so and became infuriated after watching the video upon its promotion. When she later asked about why he made such a defaming video of her, Timberlake replied according to Spears, "Well, I got a controversial video." She retorted, "You did. [Claps her hands, as if for a dog that just performed a trick.] Yay for you." She acknowledged it was a great publicity stunt commenting, "So he got what he wanted. I think it looks like such a desperate attempt, personally. But that was a great way to sell the record. He's smart [laughs]. Smart guy."

In 2003, it was rumored that Britney supposedly responded by the single "Everytime" from her album In the Zone and that the song lyrics indicate that the song is a sorry gesture with the lyrics "please forgive me, my weakness caused you pain, and this song is my sorry". However, Spears denied this rumor and commented that there was no response track to Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" in this album.


The song was very well received by fans and critics alike. Aside from all the allegations that the song and video were about his split with Britney Spears, the song became Timberlake's breakthrough track and helped propelled him to individual mainstream success. Cry Me A River became a hit very quickly and a classic almost instantly. It would also lead Timberlake to his first of many individual Grammy awards. It is often considered by fans his finest work.

Track listings

US Single

  1. Cry Me A River [Album Version]
  2. Cry Me A River [Instrumental]
  3. Cry Me A River [Dirty Vegas Vocal Mix]
  4. Cry Me A River [Junior's Vasquez Earth Club Mix]

UK Single [CD1]

  1. Cry Me A River [Original Version]
  2. Cry Me A River [Dirty Vegas Vocal Mix]
  3. Cry Me A River [Bill Hamel Vocal Remix]
  4. Cry Me A River [Enhanced Video]

UK Single [CD2]

  1. Cry Me a River [Johnny Fiasco Vocal Mix]
  2. Like I Love You [Basement Jaxx Vocal Mix]
  3. Like I Love You [Deep Dish Zigzag Mix]

US Vinyl

  1. Cry Me A River [Dirty Vegas Vocal Mix]
  2. Cry Me A River [Dirty Vegas Dub]
  3. Cry Me A River [Johnny Fiasco's Electric Karma Mix]
  4. Cry Me A River [Bill Hamel Justinough Vocal Mix]

Remixes/official versions

  • Album Version - 4:47
  • Official Remix featuring 50 Cent - 4:52

Music video

The video begins with a blond woman, supposedly meant to be Britney Spears, walking out of her house hand-in-hand with an unidentified man. The couple leaves in her car as Timberlake rolls down the window of the car he's watching her in. He breaks into the house by throwing a rock through a window and proceeds to walk through the house, not breaking or causing any other visible damage, except for a picture which he kicks across the room. Justin's ex returns, he follows her around the house then hides in a closet as she takes a shower. As he gets closer to her, eventually touching the glass surrounding of the shower, she senses someone else in the room and turns around but Timberlake is gone. She leaves the bathroom and goes into her bedroom, where the video made by Justin and his new lover is playing on the television as the music video ends. You only see the blond woman's face once.

Chart performance

"Cry Me a River" peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on January 21, 2003, and was - at that point - Timberlake's most successful single, until "Sexyback" reached the number-one position in 2006. In the UK, "Cry Me a River" peaked at #2 for two consecutive weeks (part of a long string of singles for Timberlake to just miss hitting the top, broken by "Sexyback" in 2006). In Australia, "Cry Me a River" debuted (and peaked) at #2 on the ARIA singles chart. In Indonesia, "Cry Me a River" was peaked at number two for seven non-consecutive weeks. Three weeks of that stuck behind Beautiful from Christina Aguilera, following week, the song drop to number eight. But, the next week the song rose to number four and rose again to number two, and stuck again there for 4 weeks, behind Avril Lavigne's I'm With You. The song ended the chart with being the 17th Top 100 Year-End in the country.

"Cry Me a River" also performed well in other countries, peaking at #6 in the Netherlands and France (Timberlake's first French Top 10 single and his highest charting hit until "What Goes Around... Comes Around" reached #5 in 2007). "Cry Me a River" reached the #10 position in both Sweden and Norway, and was a Top 20 success in New Zealand (#11), Finland (#19) and Switzerland (#20).

Timberlake's single was certified Silver in France for sales of 100,000 copies.[1]

Cover versions

  • British cover band Ten Masked Men recorded a death metal version of the song. 50 Cent also collaborated with Timberlake on two remixes. One remix uses "The World" from 50 Cent's underground album God's Plan.
  • In 2006, New Found Glory covered the song for an online performance on Yahoo Music & Pepsi Smash's "Cover Art" feature. The video can be found on YouTube.
  • Laura White covered the song on The X Factor 2008, at the judges houses stage, because of the performance White advanced to the live shows. White eventually placed 8th in the competetion.
  • Irish singer Lucia Evans covered the song for her debut album Natural Woman.
  • 15-year-old Justin Bieber has performed Cry Me a River live in 2009, one of several recordings can be seen here


Chart (2002) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [7] 3
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 11
Australian ARIA Singles Chart [8] 2
Danish Singles Chart [9] 11
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart [10] 11
UK Singles Chart [11] 2
Irish Singles Chart 6
Italian Singles Chart 14
Canadian Singles Chart 22
German Singles Chart 13
Austrian Singles Chart [12] 29
Netherlands Top 40 Singles [13] 6
Norwegian Singles Chart [14] 10
Swiss singles chart [15] 20
Swedish Singles Chart [16] 10
French Singles Chart [17] 6




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