For Your Consideration: The 20/20 Experience


As the name suggests, Justin Timberlake’s latest, The 20/20 Experience, is an experience. Clocking in at 70 minutes long, and with most of the songs clocking in at over seven minutes, The 20/20 Experience is a party in album form. It has been seven years since Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds and now he has returned with a highly entertaining album that is just one non-stop celebration.

Timberlake’s career has been interesting one. He started from the disposable, interchangeable land of boy bands. A place where one-dimensional pop acts become incredibly popular, free from any form of criticism since their single purpose (entertaining teenage girls) is mostly harmless. Soon, they die out, replaced with whatever the next act is put together by men in suits behind the scenes. Only brought forward again when nostalgia demands it and their fans are in their cynical twenties with permanent rose-tinted glasses on. Slightly over-weight and surviving from D-list reality shows, they come out and sing their silly pop songs to placate inner-children. Timberlake has avoid that and transformed his career path into one of most popular acts in the world. Instead of becoming a relic, he released three mega-popular albums, started a movie career, and became one of the more hilarious additions of recent Saturday Night Live.

Timberlake ended his hiatus strongly with the first single off the album, “Suit & Tie”. Joined by megastar/possible king of the world Jay-Z, with “Suit & Tie”, Timberlake reminds us what we have missed all of these years. Setting up the tone for the rest of the album, “Suit & Tie” is a party-in-decibel form, a  fun and energetic song that doesn’t fail to please. It is charming songs like this that makes the album so great to listen to.

Shortly joining “Suit & Tie” was “Mirrors”. While the first single was an explosion reminding everybody that he has returned, it was Mirrors that shows off the album’s true intentions. “Mirrors” is reminiscent of last year’s “Pyramids” from Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. Here Timberlake has stepped up and crafted pop epics. Instead of merely producing another run of serviceable songs that would sell no matter what, Timberlake has thrown in an immense amount of ambition behind each song. Although some of the songs don’t match the album’s intent, and sometimes the album can meander, it barely hinders the overall enjoyment of The 20/20 Experience.

Part of the album’s enjoyment and ambitious outlook comes from the variety of tracks on it. Aside from the more upbeat grooves like “Suit & Tie” and “Pusher Love Girl” things slow down on tracks such as “Strawberry Bubblegum” and probably the deepest track on the album, a reflection of the title, “Blue Ocean Floor”. Also, tracks such as “Let the Groove In” are surely to become hits on the dance floor.

While not a perfect album, The 20/20 Experience proves to be a highly entertaining, fun album. That’s what important here. It’s impossible to not to have a good time while listening to Timberlake’s long-awaited return to the world of music.

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