Music review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
"TKO" Music Poster Image
Tedious track has fighting metaphors, sex, and profanity.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Hollow lyrics about being emotionally battered and bruised in a relationship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Timberlake attempts to do something dark and erotic but does not pull it off. It's not behavior you would want your kid to copy.


All the lyrics are based on fight metaphors including "knock me out," "cuts right on my eye," and "perfect shot to the dome." 


One line is, "This rematch sex is amazing," and one hook is, "She kills me with the coochie-coochie-coo," a reference to women's private parts.


Includes the words "damnit" and "s--t" as well as "coochie-coochie-coo."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Justin Timberlake's single "TKO" is an uninspired and unoriginal pop song that likens romantic turmoil to a fist fight. The seven-minute single uses some profanity, including the words "s--t" and "damnit," and includes a few sexual references ("This rematch sex is amazing," "She kills me with the coochie-coochie-coo," a reference to women's private parts).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRosebud95 October 8, 2013


It's not that bad, it's just really generic, containing very little of JT's 'swagger'.
Kid, 11 years old July 24, 2018

Great Timberlake Song

This is a very good song by Justin Timberlake, however, there are some more mature themes to the song, including some swearing, and references to sex, which is... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 16, 2013

Catchy but sorta inapropriate

Yeah you just have to read CSM's review for this song to know it's a little iffie for kids. But I like the radio edit it's catchy and has a good... Continue reading

What's the story?

TKO is the second official single from Justin Timberlake's second album of 2013, The 20/20 Experience (Part 2 of 2). The track is quite long for a single, clocking in at 7:08, with several verses and choruses all sung in pitch-perfect falsetto by the former *NSYNC star. Produced by hip-hop savants Timbaland and J-Roc, the song is a slow and seductive lament that compares the ups and downs of a relationship to the beatings sustained in a fight.

Is it any good?

JT is notably lacking the swagger that has made him an icon. The lyrics are repetitive and heavily reliant upon weak metaphors and predictable songwriting, and the production is uninteresting at best, monotonous at worst. Die-hard Timberlake fans will go crazy for anything he sings in that sweet voice, but it's hard to see why he felt the need to release a full sequel to his already long album.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Justin Timberlake's strange career arc. How has JT been shaped by and contributed to mainstream pop culture during the past decade and a half?

  • "TKO" is the second single from the second installment of his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience. Why do you think Timberlake decided to release two full-length albums in one year after several years of inactivity?

Music details

  • Artist: Justin Timberlake
  • Release date: September 20, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: RCA
  • Genre: R&B/Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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