Album Review: Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

From the Mickey Mouse Club, to a world-renowned boy-band, to a highly successful solo career, Justin Timberlake has come a long way. After the success of his sophomore album, he decided to venture into the world of movies and his musical career took a backseat. So when Justin Timberlake announced his return to the music business via a special video blog for his fans, I just could not help but be too damn excited. I mean, it has been almost a decade (September 2006 to be exact) since he released his FutureSex/LoveSounds and now he is back in the game.

The 20/20 Experience may sound like a fusion of JT’s past two albums (Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds) only classier and a more relaxed atmosphere that goes heavy on classic R&B.

Let’s take a look at his tracks to see if The 20/20 Experience is worth the wait.

  1. Pusher Love Girl – From the get-go, I thought that this is a soundtrack to a classic film, then suddenly the music shifts to a heavy low-down of bass-full drum beats. Pusher Love Girl is a sweet, soulful tune of a metaphor meddled on drugs, giving its listeners a sense of being addicted to the song. I, too, got addicted to this masterpiece. This definitely sets the tone of the whole album and Timberlake hits a home run with his soulful voice.
  2. Suit & Tie Feat. Jay-Z – After a home run of an entrance, the second track (and the first single off the album) delivers a more radio-friendly approach that sounds a bit like a song by Robin Thicke. Though it’s not as ambitious and catchy as SexyBack, Suit & Tie can still be considered as one of Timberlake’s finest hits.
  3. Don’t Hold The Wall – This starts off with a melodious a cappella of several JT’s, followed by an eerie Arabic tone. The whole mixture of funky tribal chants and Timbaland’s background vocals and Timberlake’s voice almost freaked me out in a weird way. However the song picks up midway with the introduction of more drumbeats and this weird track suddenly becomes a club dance hit. I think you need to listen to Don’t Hold The Wall several times to process everything.
  4. Strawberry Bubblegum – This sounds like something that you would hear at a sophisticated bar in a five-star hotel or cruise, not that I am complaining, actually I love this track! The song is just gorgeous.
  5. Tunnel Vision – This track has Timbaland written all over it. From the hip-hop beats itself, you would know that this is a Timbaland production. Having said that, Justin’s vocals and even his signature beat-boxing ability stayed at the driver seat. He is again absolutely stellar on this one.
  6. Spaceship Coupe – Finally a heartfelt ballad. But Spaceship Coupe is not just a simple ballad, it’s an intergalactic one! Haha! Anyway, JT is at his usual best here with vocals that would take your breath away. The electric guitar break adds a nice touch to the song as well.
  7. That Girl – We got a hot one tonight! This song is by far one of my favorite tracks in the album and one of Justin’s best. The track has the smoothest grooves possible that will bring you back to Motown. Repeat worthy baby.
  8. Let The Groove Get In – When Timberlake wants to give us Groove, he offers it with much gusto. This track is evocative of the late-great Michael Jackson’s earlier era. With the proper mixture of horns, syncopating percussion and harmonized vocals from the main man himself, Let The Groove Get In is a sure-fire winner.
  9. Mirrors – Assisted with Timbaland’s signature beat-box-like beats, the album’s second single is Timberlake’s proclamation of his love to his wife Jessica Biel. With a beautiful melody and wonderful lyrics, this is yet another amazing track on his album. Billboard describes this song as a more “whole” Timberlake than a heartbroken version of himself 10 years ago with Cry Me A River.
  10. Blue Ocean Floor – A very interesting way to end a glorious album. I think Justin Timberlake is trying to channel his Frank Ocean side on this one.

Final thoughts: Justin Timberlake has evolved through the years. His comeback offering may not be as strong as he possibly can (because I know he has the capability to do so), but bringing out a more mature, more soulful and heartfelt album is good enough for a fan like me. The 20/20 Experience gives a classic R&B feel, but you have to listen to the whole album multiple times in order to appreciate the other tracks. The rightful and the better “Justin” has indeed returned to his rightful throne in the Music Industry.

Songs to be put on your Playlist: Mirrors, That Girl, Pusher Love Girl, Let The Groove Get In.

Grab this album if you like: Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Robin Thicke.

4.0 out of 5

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