Albums I’ll be reviewing soon:
The National - Boxer
The Story So Far - What You Don’t See
Paramore - Paramore
Tonight Alive - What Are You So Scared Of
Florrie - Late
Emeli Sande - Our Version of Events
Fall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll
THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE
Justin Timberlake’s new album The 20/20 Experience is streaming on itunes. I HAD to listen. And it wasn’t what I was expecting. Beware, there’s no “Senorita” or “Cry Me A River” or “SexyBack” or “My Love.” I loved “Suit & Tie” for its funkiness and how it was a stark contrast to the Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift that’s on the radio right now, but it turns out it might be the most radio-friendly song on the album (which isn’t a bad thing!)
The first time I listened to FutureSex/LoveSounds, I was in love. Not the case with The 20/20 Experience and it’s nothing like Justified either.
Justin didn’t go the pop-dance route like most of his peers (See Trouble by Taylor Swift, something you wouldn’t hear on her self-titled). Think R&B, think John Legend. The album is slower and intimate and nothing like the dance party of FutureSex/LoveSounds. On one hand, he’s rejected the formula of his successful endeavors — on the other hand, I can’t look to 20/20 for upbeat tunes on my train rides.
You’re probably not going to listen to The 20/20 Experience and instantly fall in love. I didn’t, but I appreciate the fact that I need multiple listens to full appreciate, love or hate, the album. I need to listen again to make fully formed thoughts. (I’ve listened to the album about 4 times as I write this). Most of the songs are around 7-8 minutes long. There’s a lot of different way to think about the songs — as singles, as experiences, why did he do this and not that?
Pusher Love Girl is a good way to start the album. It sets the tone and pace but it holds its own. His performance of it on Jimmy Fallon solidifies that this song works (view here).
Suit & Tie is funky, honestly Jay-Z feels kind of thrown in there but that doesn’t stop me from rapping along.
Tunnel Vision is very cool, a song where you can see the Timbaland influence and one of the more upbeat songs.
Let The Groove Get In is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson, but doesn’t necessarily contain substance.
Mirrors is EASILY the best song on the album. Emotive, lyrical, beautiful. I want to listen to all 8 minutes of the song.
That Girl is hard to appreciate considering That Girl is Jessica Biel. But this song is going to get stuck in my head every time I hear it.
Blue Ocean Floor - I think Mirrors would have been a better way to end the album. The song itself is good but doesn’t lend itself as a good “ending” to the 20/20 experience (it’s supposed to be an experience right?)
I don’t like Strawberry Bubblegum. It doesn’t sound bad but I don’t want to listen to it for 8 minutes.
As for Spaceship Coupe, the lyrics are terrible. I can’t make it the whole 7 minutes.
My primary critique is that if Justin was going to have a slower r&b focused album, full of “experiences” (seven-eight minute songs), the vocals should have been stronger and varied. Without better vocals, the album is missing the experience. I feel like the songs will be MUCH better live. If there were a live version of the 20/20 Experience, I’d be ALL over that.
Overall, the album is decent and worth listening to. I’m really glad Justin Timberlake is back. He really does have something to offer that we were missing until Bruno Mars came along - even so, JT has new music to offer us and I am glad he’s back after seven years.
RATING: 3/5 Stars