The song was inspired by Timberlake's former relationship with singer Britney Spears.
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Ranked #24 on Billboard's list of the Best Music Videos Since 2000.
"Cry Me a River" is an R&B song about a brokenhearted man who moves on from his last girlfriend, who had cheated on him with another man.
The song earned several lists of best of the year and the decade (2000s).
Rolling Stone included it on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at 484.
It won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 ceremony.
The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Pop Songs charts and charted in the top ten in other countries.
It was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
The clip won the awards for Best Male Video and Best Pop Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
Timberlake performed "Cry Me a River" on his four major concert tours: The Justified World Tour (2003-04), Justified and Stripped Tour (2003), FutureSex/LoveShow (2007), and The 20/20 Experience World Tour (2013-15).
The song has been covered by various recording artists, including Leona Lewis and Taylor Swift.
"Cry Me a River" was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
"Cry Me a River" is written in the key of G minor, in alla breve, with a tempo of 74 beats per minute.
Billboard magazine critics called "Cry Me a River" a bittersweet song, in which Timberlake's "familiar tenor belting" is tempered with a soulful falsetto and a "convincingly aggressive rock-spiked baritone" rasp.
David Browne of Entertainment Weekly labeled the song "a haunted, pained farewell".
A Rolling Stone reviewer called the song a "breakup aria".
According to Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian, "Cry Me a River" stands out for its "slow-building sense of drama", which highlights Timberlake at his "husky best".
Peter Robinson of NME called it a "twisted epic" and "an acidic, filthy little song teeming with spite and retribution, with Timbaland's pounding."
The single won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 award ceremony.
It was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards.
VH1 ranked "Cry Me a River" at number 59 on their list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 2000s.
Rolling Stone ranked "Cry Me a River" at number 20 on their list of the 100 Best Songs of the 2000s; a columnist for the magazine wrote that the real inspiration behind the song was the formation of the Timberlake-Timbaland team, "a match made in pop heaven".
The Daily Telegraph listed the song at number 40 on the "100 songs that defined the Noughties."
In 2018, Rolling Stone ranked the song 46 on their list "The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century".
As of 2018, the song has sold 1.2 million copies in the USA.
It was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 35,000 units.
In 2013, Billboard editor Jason Lipshutz opined the clip was "one of the more brilliant musical moments in pop music since the dawn of the century."
In 2018, Billboard critics named it the 24th "greatest music video of the 21st century."
American singer Selena Gomez performed an acoustic version of "Cry Me a River" at the UNICEF charity concert in New York City.
Justin Bieber recorded a cover of the song together with Kanye West's 2007 single "Stronger", which he posted on his YouTube account.
United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum certification with 600,000 sales.