Likes: Pusher Love Girl, Suit & Tie, Spaceship Coupe, That Girl
Overall: Fantastically eclectic with great production, but weak writing
When you see how many tracks are on “The 20/20 Experience,” you might think “What?! Justin Timberlake only gave us 10 tracks (standard edition) after being absent from music for 7 years!?,” but don’t fret, each track is an abundant average of 7 minutes. The real question is if the lengthy carols were worth the wait and space. Like some of tracks on the previous “FutureSex LoveSound,” all of the songs on “20/20” are tuneful journeys that constantly transform in melody and mood. Part of the album's strength is that the transitions happen so smoothly and complement one another; I found myself steadily wondering what would happen next. If nothing else, “20/20” is a musical buffet that will satisfy any eclectic palette. It's delicious the manner in which Timberlake meets the classic with the contemporary, incorporating jazz, soul, classical, R&B, international and dance. The record's major weakness is the lyrics and, disputably, the tempo. Maybe Timberlake put so much energy into the musicality, he didn’t have enough left to write equally stunning lyrics. There are a few exceptions (ex. Mirrors, Blue Ocean Floor), but most of the content isn’t particularly clever or complex. The content of his first solo album, “Justified,” was more meaningful and sophisticated in my opinion, and that’s saying something, considering he was 11 years younger. As for the pace, if you’re expecting most of the album to be as funky and bouncy as “Suit & Tie,” you will be disappointed. All that sauce, believe it or not, is sparse. The “experience” is often slow and winding and sometimes not in a “good and sexy” way. It gets a bit sleepy there for a second; the musical shifts keep your attention. I imagine Volume 2 of “The 20/20 Experience” (reportedly due out in November), will scratch the up-tempo itch. Anyhow, in total, the production is bloody fantastic and I don’t regret spending money on this album.