Posted by: pop-break | March 15, 2013

Album Review: Justin Timberlake, ‘The 20/20 Experience’

lauren stern puts on her suit and tie…

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In true Justin Timberlake fashion, his new record, The 20/20 Experience leaked it’s way onto iTunes this week (only days before it’s actual release) causing an Internet frenzy the world will never forget. Much like his comeback announcement, Twitter and Facebook exploded, and practically everyone rushed to their computers to hear the singer’s long-awaited new album. But before play was pressed the big question still remained — is this album going to be any good?

It was a good question to say the least.

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After all, some critics were initially unimpressed with the singer’s lead single “Suit and Tie,” despite its record breaking sales. However, it’s safe to say that after the first track on The 20/20 Experience ended — that question was pretty much obliterated … even for those critics who doubted the success of JT’s musical return just three months ago.

The 20/20 Experience is a phenomenal release and it has a lot to do with the format. For once, listeners aren’t going to hear 10 overdone pop and R&B singles where they’re left trying to determine which tracks are more “single-worthy” than the others. Instead, Timberlake is trying something new by making it so the album is one big musical journey, to which the listeners are taken back to the classic eras of R&B, rock, and pop. This “one big song” method was something implemented successfully when Frank Ocean hit the R&B scene last year with his album acclaimed channel ORANGE and it’s something Timberlake perfected in his first release in six years.

And while the format is certainly important, what’s evident here is that Timberlake (and his producer Timbaland) have created a work of art. Yes, the songs are pretty lengthy, but they must be in order for the continuous influx of classic R&B grooves and croons to work. Timberlake’s career with N*SYNC as well as his previous two releases may cause people to think he isn’t capable of going outside of the dance pop genre. However, this is an entire album of Timberlake singing soulful R&B love songs and it is essentially perfection. It’s not only perfect for a night of lovemaking, but it works for long night drives, classy events, or in this reviewer’s case — a nice evening relaxing at home.

As far as “best songs” go — it’s really hard to chose because they all flow so well together. But after cutting out all the interludes, “Mirrors,” “Pusher Love Girl,” “Spaceship Coupe,” and “That Girl” were the best songs on the album by far. “Suit and Tie” featuring Jay-Z is also a solid track, (one that I will always and forever do Michael Jackson-esque spins in my own suit and tie to), but it’s starting to get a little overplayed. The worst track is “Let The Groove In,” (otherwise known as the “Latin beats track” thanks to iTunes) — it’s the only track that’s way too out of the box for JT, and it just doesn’t fit with the flow of the rest of the album.

If Timberlake proved anything with his first release in six years, it’s that he’s always going to be a force to be reckoned with. We’re always going to love hearing him sing, we’re always going to want him hosting on SNL, and we’re always going to want him in our cheesy rom-coms. Even if The 20/20 Experience was the biggest, most boring piece of crap on Earth, we’d still worship him as a pop culture and pop music prince. You can hate on him all we want for that but you might as well accept it, sit back, and enjoy the music … and with The 20/20 Experience it’ll be hard not to.

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