Alrighty then its time for another music review. Justin Timberlake’s third album, The 20/20 Experience which was released in March this year. I didn’t get around to listening to it until April, but then I had to listen to the album again to properly a feel for the music. Now its frigging September and The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 comes out in a few weeks! I was meant to review the album months ago! Why has this taken so long? This is ridiculous! So after hearing this album 3 times, I think I’m ready to review it.
Also in this review I’ll be talking about all of the tracks in sequence including the tracks available on the deluxe edition too.
So The 20/20 Experience Timberlake’s first album in 7 years and it feels like an eternity since Timberlake ruled the world of music with “SexyBack” and the rest of his singles from the FutureSex/LoveSounds album. This new album is not quite the same kind of sound we’re used to from Timberlake, I mean sure there are elements of the album that sound familiar to FutureSex/LoveSounds but this album goes in a few different directions, quite unexpected in some cases but it makes for a varied and interesting listening experience.
So let’s talk about the tracks specifically. The album opens with “Pusher Love Girl” and it is gorgeous. This was my favourite song before the album even dropped due to Timberlake’s live performance back in February. It’s just when the chorus kicks in, I fall in love, Timberlake’s vocals along with the smooth and sexy jazzy R&B sounds, I love it. And then the second half of the song drops and you get a more beat-driven hip-hop piece with echoing vocals and spoken lyrics that works very well. It’s addictive!
And then we get to “Suit & Tie“, the first single released off of this album. While it does quite have the catchy nature of “Like I Love You” or the addictive nature of “SexyBack“, this track does have a beautiful sound that you can jam to due to the beats and Timberlake’s lovely voice. Now let’s talk about Jay-Z’s contribution to the track, at first it feels very out-of-place and odd, but after a repeat listens it really works. The track does get better with each listen. Oh then we have “Don’t Hold The Wall“, this is one of the stand out tracks because it is not only the first sort of dance song, but it works really well best of its music direction. This song has an unexpected and crazy Indian sound to it, layered with Timbaland-style vocals and beats, but surprisingly it works well. This is another song with a second half to it and its noted as a drum and bass styled finish with Timberlake and Timbaland doing their thing. It’s SO nice.
Next up is “Strawberry Bubblegum“, upon first listen I wasn’t too keen on this song, but after a few listens the song’s gotten a bit better. It’s another slow jam with a cute yet funny style of lyrics, though I find the second half of this song to be way more impressive and addictive because I really does sound like elevator music haha. Now we move onto the good stuff with “Tunnel Vision“, what could be described as the best track on the album. Straight from the time the song starts and the beats drop with Timbo in the background you know you’re in for a great listen. This is honestly perfection for me, it is Timberlake and Timbaland together making beautiful R&B sounds which is familiar and fresh at the same time. I never noticed this track the first time round but on my second listen I became obsessed, and it bugs me how much people know this song from the music video and not from the album itself. Then there is “Spaceship Coupe“, which has some great music production though it is one of my least favourite tracks, it’s just a bit dull and too lovey dovey for me. Another track that falls into that lovey dovey department is “That Girl“, while I like the old school style with the nice beats in the background, it just isn’t a dance number or a one for me to jam to.
Then we move onto “Let The Groove Get In” and I have to say that this is my jam! Now this is a dance track! It has style, charm and a great upbeat groove. I love beats, Timberlake’s vocals and Timbaland’s music production which is again right on point! I think this song has another Indian kind of influence due to the backing vocals and music style. Oh and the second half of this song is just awesome, the transition is so slick and the beats along with the lyrics are beautiful. Now its time to talk about “Mirrors“, this being the biggest single off of this album, it really is a song about love and relationships and wanting to be with your other half forever, at least that’s how I interpret it. At first I really wasn’t keen on this song at all, but over time it has grown on me. The first half of the song really has a similar arrangement to “My Love” when it comes to the pacing and beats, which is something I liked. The second half of this song features a nice softer finish and it is my preferred of the track because its addictive. And then there’s the last track on the album “Blue Ocean Floor“, which is honestly a quiet little song, but I think it is really beautiful. Just how I loved Friendly Fires songs “Pala” and “Helpless“, I love these slow tracks filled with wonderful music and wonderful vocals.
But just when you thought that the album’s awesome factor was over, you get two additional track to work with. “Dress On” is simply one of the most gorgeous songs that Timberlake has ever crafted in my opinion, it just has that trademark Timbaland production along with soothing vocals, beautiful lyrics and its practically a track that melts your ears. Then the finishing song is “Body Count“, honestly this was my first favourite song from this album from the time I first heard it (not counting “Suit & Tie” and “Pusher Love Girl“). While it’s not your conventional Timberlake kind of sound, the song has a great sound and makes me want to dance, and that’s where it succeeds, I love songs I can dance to, especially when they come from Timberlake and this was my jam. I love its upbeat nature, lyrics, Mexican-sounding music and the inclusion of Timbaland (Timbo is so badass).
My favourite tracks of the album:
- Pusher Love Girl
- Suit & Tie
- Don’t Hold The Wall
- Tunnel Vision
- Let The Groove Get In
- Dress On
- Body Count
In conclusion The 20/20 Experience while it may not be Justin Timberlake’s best work it is damn good effort. The album feels familiar and yet new at the same time and it you give a chance, upon repeat listens the songs get a lot better. It’s just great to have Timberlake making music again and I can’t wait to see what’s going on with the second half of this album when it hits later on this year.
Rating: 8/10 (It’s a good album that keeps better with each listen)
So what do you think of the first half of The 20/20 Experience? Are liking JT’s return to music or do you think he shouldn’t have come back at all? Whatever your thoughts just drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya later on.