Mr. Timberlake finally decided to hear our pleas and released a new album yesterday, The 20/20 Experience. This is his first release since 2006’s “Future Sex/Love Sounds” (yes it’s been 7 years!). I have to say, looking back Justin always has some kind of heightened expectancy with every album he has released. His first album, “Justified” was his first solo album after *Nsync disbanded and it came with the “can he survive as a solo artist?” question and a lot of expectation. He passed the test. The second album, “Future Sex/Love Sounds” brought about “Was his first album a fluke? Can he make it work with Timberland?” He passed the test again. Then went silent. Like, radio silent on us for 7 years, till now. This album just comes with long waiting and wondering if JT still has it. Well does he? If you ask me, I say he does – and not just because I adore this man (well his artistic side)
His first single “Suit and Tie” is the perfect glimpse into the direction JT decided to go with this album. Once again, it was a divisive (I feel like I use this word a lot) reaction. My only critique was I think the song would have done just fine without the Jay Z rap but I think that was done for business purposes but anyways a critique I heard a lot was “yea it’s okay but it’s not the best choice for a first single”. Well, the thing is every song on this album would have received that same reaction. If you are looking for a radio friendly/top 40 sound, this album is probably not for you. As you may have learned about JT when he released “Sexy Back” he doesn’t actually follow the trend and does what he wants to do.
Teaming up once again with producer, Timbaland they serve us an album that is a blend of neo soul, 70’s r&b, funk music, white boy soul and a lot of other things all rolled into one. I overall liked the album. I liked how each song had a way of taking you to another place (while also reminding me of other talented artists that I like. I went from Raphael Saadiq to Frank Ocean to Michael Jackson to Prince). I feel the album was consistent and true to the vision he had for this album and it had a grown and sexy mellow feel to it. JT and Timbaland still have a good synergy that translates well to song even though every now and then that thing Timbaland does where you hear him on a track, could be quite annoying. It sounds like a “hey I am here don’t forget me” cry but he needs to stay behind the scenes where he belongs as a producer.
Now if you guys remember, on the last album he had this thing where each song was broken into two sounds (who didn’t like the second part of Lovestoned?) I am not quite sure what his intentions were, to continue that on this album or be artistic but the songs on this albums are long! We’re talking 7/8 min songs. The shortest song on the album is “That Girl” for 4:47 (I am so convinced this song is about interracial love) and the longest is “Mirrors” for 8:05. Whatever the reason was, I don’t know that it was necessary and just seemed to be self indulgent. I’ve never thought JT to be the best lyricist and that’s no different here “Spaceship Coupe” has some questionable lines. Finally, this really isn’t a critique more like a commentary, sometimes artists write based on their life at the moment and as a newly married man I wasn’t sure if JT would approach the album from that stance. I have never considered him deep and even though we always know who he is dating, he’s pretty good at keeping his private life private. While there were a number of love songs on the album, I didn’t feel they were all professions of love for his wife, it sounded like songs he would sing even if he was single. The deepest song on here is “Mirrors” which is basically a love song and was the only song I thought that maybe could be for Mrs. Timberlake.
Overall, I would recommend the album. My favorite songs are: Mirrors, Suit and Tie, Tunnel Vision and Let the Groove Get In. What did you think of the album?