It’s been almost seven years since Justin Timberlake belted out his polished falsetto or brought sexy back, but he has officially returned as a more mature and introspective version of himself.
The overall album wreaks of the influence of hip-hop producer Timbaland’s signature sounds, but also exhibits a more well-rounded, musically attentive JT.
From sonically out of this world tracks like Justin’s “Spaceship Coupe,” to the whimsical and peaceful harmonies of ballads like “Blue Ocean Floor,” Timbaland and Justin manage to perfectly weave the sounds of the past, present, and future of pop, jazz, soul and R&B.
Although the album is as solid as a rock, Timbaland’s exquisite production at times outshines Justin’s vocal input, which is an unequivocal plus for Timbaland, but an obscure injustice for Justin.
With Timbaland’s simply complex beats serving as JT’s landing pad, Justin’s vocals sometimes become an after-thought on the sonic ride Timbaland ruthlessly offers.
The 20/20 Experience is a definite must-buy, so head to your nearest music retailer to cop the album on March 19.
- The 20/20 Experience Tracklisting
- 1. “Pusher Love Girl”
- 2. “Suit & Tie” feat. Jay-Z
- 3. “Don’t Hold the Wall”
- 4. “Strawberry Bubblegum”
- 5. “Tunnel Vision”
- 6. “Spaceship Coupe”
- 7. “That Girl”
- 8. “Let the Groove Get In”
- 9. “Mirrors”
- 10. “Blue Ocean Floor”
Check out our review of JT’s The 20/20 Experience below!
Track 1- “Pusher Love Girl”
Justin and Timbaland take it to church a few times on “Pusher Love Girl.”
The beginning of this soulful track initially sounds like the introduction of a Disney feature film with a grandiose orchestra serving as sonic fluff, but the track quickly transitions into a bluesy, soulful tune. By the end, Timbaland can’t refrain from adding his beloved breakdowns. Feeding off Timbaland’s hip-hop background, JT eventually segues into a contrived freestyle, if such a thing exists.
Track 2- “Suit & Tie” Featuring Jay-Z
There’s not much to say about this track that hasn’t already been said. JT and Jigga Man make the perfect odd couple on the catchy horn-riddled joint. It’s radio-friendly, bar-friendly, and life-friendly, which means it’s a hit.
Track 3- “Don’t Hold The Wall”
Welcome to the jungle.
Timbaland and Justin walk their listener on the wild side with this tribal-inspired track. Riddled with remnants of the stridulation of cricket chirps, and bass drums, Timbaland’s ear for utilizing sounds derived from life’s earliest beginnings and his affinity for complexly layered tracks makes “Don’t Hold The Wall” quite fascinating to experience. The track transitions from the impulses of tribal rhythms to a darker ritualistic chant of “Don’t Hold The Wall.” This one easily stands out as an album favorite.
Track 4- “Strawberry Bubblegum”
“Strawberry Bubblegum” serves as the mellow opposition to “Suit & Tie”‘s horn-riddled melody and “Don’t Hold The Wall’s” tribal takeover. Timbaland manages to scale back his complex production, which allows Justin to become more of a force on the fruitful ballad.
Track 5- “Tunnel Vision”
On “Tunnel Vision,” Timbaland’s bass is as heavy as Kanye West’s chains, which creates a sonic tunnel of various instruments as JT’s vocals radiate. The bass-heavy track also features Timbaland’s soft-pedaled ad-libs, which are always appreciated.
Track 6- “Spaceship Coupe”
Now, this is the Justin fans will adore.
Although the various instrumentation is a known force, Justin’s vocals soar over the tings. Categorized by yelps and long-winded scoops from Justin’s lower register, “Spaceship Coupe,” is undoubtedly the most vocally solid offering Justin delivers on the album. Towards the end of the track, Timbaland reverts back to his old sound by filtering in sounds of creaking doors and manipulated whimpers.
Sonically, the highlight of this track has to be the guitar solo, which catapults the listener from galaxy to galaxy.
Track 7- “That Girl”
Justin Timberlake takes listeners to the juke joint on “That Girl.” Justin kicks off the track by introducing himself as “JT & The Tennessee Kids.” On the soulful track, J professes his love and desires, as the “Tennessee Kids” support him on the luminous background vocals.
Track 8- “Let The Groove Get In”
Timbaland turns the beat around as the percussion of “Let The Groove Get In” thrusts this track into an up-tempo collection of horns and bongos. As the horns stridently blare, Justin’s repeats “Are you comfortable? Let the groove get in.” This seven-minute track will have the listener shaking and grooving until it abruptly ends with Justin singing, “you can let the groove get in.” This serves as the album’s only real dance track.
Track 9- “Mirrors”
We’ve already heard the comparison of “Mirrors” to Justin’s “Cry Me A River,” and there’s no one to blame except for Timbaland, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Justin makes up for the familiarity of this track by creating the tune’s catchy hook. Justin reminds us that hindsight is always 20/20, and while he was recovering from a very public breakup during the release of “Cry Me A River,” on “Mirrors” the 32-year-old singer now seems complete.
Track 10- “Blue Ocean Floor”
There’s something haunting about this whimsical track, between JT’s verbose rifts and his ability to ride the underbelly of a perfect melody. Close your eyes and imagine yourself basking in the sun as Justin’s voice crashes against Timbaland’s created pseudo-waves. “Blue Ocean Floor” seems to be the introspective track any soulful singer would chose to close out their album.
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