By Stephen M. Silverman
November 06, 2002 01:00 PM

It’s official: Justin Timberlake’s first solo album, “Justified,” is out, having been released by Jive Records on Tuesday. And the verdict? As Sean Daly, reviewing the CD in Wednesday’s Washington Post, writes: “The egomaniacally titled ‘Justified’ is often both entertaining and inventive, a funky, party-platter nod to the silly dancing days before Michael Jackson bought a chimp. Deep this disc is not, and frequent shout-outs to ‘Mr. JT’ ring goofy and false. But by taking a solo-style break from his fellow boy-banders in ‘N Sync, Timberlake … gets to show off a soulful, shimmery falsetto that plays downright sexy when surrounded by the Neptunes’s jazz-band-in-a-strip-club beats.”

Meanwhile, Timberlake, 21, tells he was influenced by a number of pop stars, Michael Jackson being just one of them.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where we could watch people like Michael and Madonna and look up to them as pop icons,” Timberlake said. “I just think, you know, there’s other music out there for me, and there’s other music that influenced me. I think you’ll definitely hear a little bit of the Eagles in the harmonies. I think you’ll hear, you know, a lot of Stevie Wonder in songs like ‘Senorita’ and a ballad called ‘Still On My Brain.'”

Timberlake’s first single, “Like I Love You,” is currently No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, while a second single, “Cry Me A River,” is due to premiere on radio Monday.

As part of the “Justified” marketing plan, Timberlake is on a publicity blitz. He spoke to Barbara Walters Monday night — singing a song called “Horrible Woman,” which may or may not have referred to ex-girlfriend Britney Spears — and he hit MTV’s “Total Request Live” on Tuesday.

Thursday will bring an appearance on BET’s “106 & Park,” and Friday, a performance on NBC’s “Today” show.