After seven months waiting, part two of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience has been released, and it delivers.
The 20/20 Experience is only the third studio album from Justin Timberlake. His last album FutureSex/LoveSounds was released over seven years ago, and Timberlake has held us in suspense ever since. He continued the suspense by splitting The 20/20 Experience into two parts – but I’m not mad. This splitting was necessary, because the impact of the two and a half hour full album might have been too overwhelming.
Part one of The 20/20 Experience debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, and the lead single Suit & Tie was in the top five in several countries worldwide. Its second single Mirrors reached number one in the UK and number two in the US. What’s great about this is part two is so much better than the chart-topping part one – which means unfathomable greatness from Timberlake.
Part two juxtaposes the sounds of part one. While part one was romantic and somewhat classy, part two is sexy, animalistic and provides the urban rhythms for dancing dirty. Exploring metaphors of sex, blood and murder, Timberlake pushes the badness level up a notch. If part one was the foreplay, then part two is the raunchy sex marathon, and personally when it comes to The 20/20 Experience, I could have skipped the foreplay.
Timberlake teams up with producer Timbaland for part two, playing around with percussive sounds. Timbaland is very present on the album’s first four songs and the second single from the album T.K.O exemplifies this Timerblake-Timbaland collaboration; which lays played down vocals on top of layers of sounds and strong bouncing rhythms. Cabaret also brings this noise, with a standout guest appearance from Drake.
The first single from this album, Take Back the Night has a Studio 54 feel about it – which was also heard on part one’s Suit & Tie. But this track strikes as soon as it starts – you know it’s a keeper as soon as you hear it. It’s got a Michael Jackson funky vibe, with similar stunning vocals and it’s a perfect pop song – it literally ‘pops’.
But then, Drink You Away further down the track list takes a different direction completely and features the first and only acoustic guitar on the album. It is what can only be described as modern country – It mixes electric sounds with the guitar and uses storytelling lyrics, even mentioning the, “bottom of the bottle”. That combination sounds weird, but it so works, and is sexy and unexpected.
This leads to the end of the album, which features an RnB ballad – You Got It On, and three romantic, slower tracks. This is where my foreplay-sex marathon metaphor holds up – because this is definitely the cuddling time. Such as relief to know Justin is a cuddler!
The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) is exhausting to listen to – because you get so involved in all of the tracks – from the sizzling full-fledged urban songs, to the unexpected expressive middle of the album to the calming, blissful ending. All I need now is a cigarette.
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