A sudden announcement; ‘Suit and Tie’; mixed reviews; the dazzling Brits performance (‘Mirrors’, just wow); and now finally it’s here.
Fans worldwide have waited six and a half years for Justin Timberlake’s new comeback album, The 20/20 Experience, which was finally released in the UK on March 18. Having been left with high expectations, has the bar been set too high to beat?
Despite any slight panic upon noticing that the song names differ dramatically from his previous, loved material, the songs are generally okay; fresh material for a new decade. It’s soulful and mixed with some somewhat pointless inputs from Timbaland. However the diverse synth and bass tunes mix a gritty urban feeling with sophisticated strings, whilst JT’s boyish charm plucks at your heartstrings.
It’s also worth noting that the music on JT’s album is very different from the stuff that Timbaland usually produces, which is why it might upset the latter’s ‘hardcore fans’.
The music is rich, but the lyrics can sometimes be a bit peculiar. That moment when listening to ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ when you realise he is talking about his partner’s vagina makes it rather awkward; as do the multitude of other lyrics on the album that revolve around sex. There are also quite a few references to drug/alcohol addiction, but the whole album feels so romantic there’s a stronger addiction to love.
Although the tracks feel dragged out and lengthy – averaging 7 minutes each – current favourites include the upbeat dance track ‘Tunnel Vision’ and the beautifully lyrical ‘Mirrors’. The layering of JT’s voice creates a beautiful quartet-ésque beginning to ‘Don’t Hold the Wall’. Meanwhile, on first listen, ‘Spaceship Coupe’ and ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ could easily be skipped over on any playlist.
Although it is a great comeback album, it is ultimately flawed through some of the pointless lyrics and ridiculous song lengths. Buy or Bin? Definite buy.
3 stars ★★★✰✰