Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience

I’d like to preface this review by saying that I’ve never been a huge Justin Timberlake fan. He’s always been one of those artists that I enjoy hearing on the radio whenever they play one of his singles, but he’s never been an artist that I’ve actively sought out to listen to. Before I purchased his latest album, I think I only had two of his songs on my iPod. I wasn’t a huge fan of NSYNC back in the nineties, and between Justin Timberlake’s solo albums and JC Chasez’s solo career, I’ve always preferred the latter, so this review shouldn’t be particularly biased in Timberlake's favor.

That being said, I would have to make the argument that Timberlake’s latest album, The 20/20 Experience, is probably one of the greatest pop albums of this generation.

When I first heard “Suit & Tie” on YouTube, I instantly fell in love with the single because of its infectious beat, catchy lyrics, and Timberlake’s amazing vocals. I assumed that the rest of the album would have a similar feel and branch off from his previous albums.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was completely wrong in my assumptions.

Aside from “Suit & Tie,” there is only really one other song that’s cut down to the appropriate length for a single. The album, in total, consists of ten songs, and seven of these ten songs has a running time longer than seven minutes. The Target exclusive of the album contains two bonus tracks, “Body Count” and “Dress On,” but just the album in itself is brilliant. I’m not generally a person that enjoys listening to longer tracks, and I rarely ever enjoy a full album in its entirety, but The 20/20 Experience has definitely broken my standards.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album because, while it does include songs with catchy lyrics and danceable beats, it’s so much more than just another pop album. Musically, there is a lot of experimentation in the album, and many of the songs reflect a more mature tone than Timberlake’s previous hits.

Tracks like “Pusher Love Girl, ”Tunnel Vision,” and “Spaceship Coupe” stay true to Timberlake’s pop background but also expand upon it with sections of musical experimentation, spoken raps, and stunning vocalizations. “That Girl” has an underlying doo-wop vibe, while “Suit & Tie” pays homage to the infamous Rat Pack with a swinging beat and classic tone.

After a seven-year hiatus from the music industry, tracks such as “Blue Ocean Floor” and “Mirrors” portray a grown-up side of Timberlake and show that he is more than just another pop artist.

While, musically, the album is beyond its time, the melodies and beats are well fitted to each track. Instead of being flooded with obnoxious bass like a lot of pop hits in more recent times, the melodies complement the lyrics to form something beautiful.

Justin Timberlake has already confirmed that The 20/20 Experience is only a preview of the album, and its sequel is set to release sometime this November. Timberlake has certainly set the bar high with this album and has given us a sample of the next generation of pop music.

Suggested listening: “Blue Ocean Floor,” “Mirrors,” “Pusher Love Girl,” “Strawberry Bubblegum.”

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