Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience

by - March 12, 2013 - - 1 Comment »

Admittedly I’m a big fan of Justin Timberlake. I used to wish I was him. (I still do.) I’m also a fan of both his previous records. Emphasis on the word both as I’ve vocalized over the last several years how I much prefer JT the recording artist to JT the actor. It’s not that I think he isn’t talented in other avenues (his SNL hosting gigs would disprove as much), just that if he was tailoring his career solely for me, he’d spend more time making music rather than movies.

So when I found out he was releasing a new album, I was hyped. Suit & Tie was a polarizing first offering (it also happens to feature the other guy I wish I was and still do); partially because it was his first song back in seven years and partially due to it featuring a bit of a different sound. I like it. It certainly didn’t prepare me for the overall sound of the record though.

As hyped as I was, I was legitimately surprised upon hearing The 20/20 Experience…surprised by how good it is. Timbaland’s production on this is an absolute raging inferno. He immediately thrust his name right back onto the GOAT list and proved he and JT make for one of the best combinations in the history of music. They are a one-two punch on the level of Hulk Hogan’s big boot and leg drop. There are beats on this that made me make the type of face one might make if they saw Godzilla emerge from the Hudson River.

Or in other words, the album is filled with luscious landscapes, as painted well by the opener “Pusher Love Girl”. It proceeds to drift through various types of content and influences while retaining a distinct and planned cohesion, including I dare you to remain still numbers like “Don’t Hold the Wall” and “Let the Groove Get In”. (Both of which had me gyrating around my apartment in a fashion that I felt was appropriate but probably looked ridiculous to the people who could see into the window from across the street.) Other sounds include the Tony Stark smooth numbers “Spaceship Coupe” and “Strawberry Bubblegum” and as my friend Barry put it, a sundress anthem (after all what is better than girls in sundresses?) in “That Girl”. None of the above even includes the frenetic and lavish “Tunnel Vision”.

The biggest misstep here is probably the conclusion. “Blue Ocean Floor” takes us out on a relaxing note. I can’t help but get the feeling this is meant to be one of those Radiohead type songs I’m supposed to think is brilliant but just don’t. Oh well, it can always grow on me.

The rest doesn’t have to. This is a massive record. One that cannot and will not be denied. Perhaps 20/20 was just speaking to its ranking on a scale of 1-20 because that would only be slightly hyperbolic.

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One Response to “Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience”

  1. jeremey says:

    David Bowies new album review coming?

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