Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience – Part 2 of 2

Posted October 1, 2013 by in Hip-hop



3/ 5


Genre: , , ,
Producer: , , , ,
Genre: Hip-hop, pop, R&B
Producer: Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, Daniel Jones, Rob Knox, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake
Label: RCA
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 74:25
Release Date: 27 September 2013
Spin This: "TKO," "Take Back the Night," "Not a Bad Thing"


Delightful MJ comparisons, decent crooning and some bad-ass machsimo make good on JT's second half of 20/20


Some of the songs like "Drink You Away" and "True Blood" seems oddly put together. Misses the Philly soul glamour and euphoria of the first 20/20 record

Ditching the classy soul of the first half, JT gets edgier, darker and colder on 20/20 Experience’s second half

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Ditching the classy soul of the first half, JT gets edgier, darker and colder on 20/20 Experience‘s second half

Two albums in one year: That’s a feat you normally don’t see in the music biz. But after the major success from Justin Timberlake’s first album in seven years, the idea to build on that momentum with a quick follow-up rushed into the headlines. Would it be more of the same or would it be a whole different suite in JT’s bag of tricks? Legitimate questions to ask, even if some of the slow leakage of album tracks joined the conversation: “Take Back the Night” piggybacked on Robin Thicke’s old-school disco caboose, while “TKO” flexed Timbaland’s hip-hop muscles akin back to his Aaliyah era (“She kills me with the coo,” Timb chants using thug swag.).

As the second half finally arrives in its full form, completing the totality of The 20/20 Experience, Timbaland’s star once again rises with Timberlake, as if the two have become the Hall & Oates of modern R&B. Think of it as Timber and Timba. “Put on a show/Get on the flo,” Timbaland chants out loud on “Cabaret” as JT shoots off fireworks from under the covers: “Now can we discuss/How fast you just got undressed/Girl if sex is a contest then you’re coming first.” Both men are unloading their egos on these tracks; there’s no half-stepping that. The idea of merging two different halves into the songs, something highly documented on 20/20, also shows up again on, but isn’t as pronounced. For example, on the second half of the seven-minute urban delight “TKO,” the track enters into a Rick Ross-styled club thumper. It serves as a satisfying postlude to the radio-ready jam and will probably get equal attention.

Despite the aforementioned attractions, not everything aligns well on this portion of JT’s “comeback” metamorphosis. “True Blood” warrants attention for the name alone and will surely get the fans’ ears of the hit TV series perked up, but its swelling disorganization of odd-ball synths, haunted sound effects and warped production makes it’s a hard pill to swallow. “Drink You Away” tosses gospel and country in a Ninja blender and creates something oddly interesting, but slightly passable. Saving it from being a pile of seaweed mush is Timberlake’s soulfully Southern-fried ad-libbing. But at least the guy is willing to try out new vibes and hyper experiments, evidenced on the smoldering urban opening track, “Gimme What I Don’t Know.” And as if he’s fantasizing over MJ dance moves, Timberlake sounds like he’s ready for a faceoff with Usher on “Murder.” It’s not “Thriller,” but it’s marginally close. “Oh, that girl is murder,” he sings using a quasi-youthful sex appeal. Jay-Z’s guest rap shoots for controversy as it compares bad-ass chick love with “you know that shit that made John Lennon go solo.” If anything, Part 2 of 2 is darker, intense and R&B-fueled than its predecessor. But is there anything here that’s pop accessible? Yeah, but not much. “Amnesia” floats like a muscular “Mirrors,” while “Not a Bad Thing,” the first portion of the eleven-minute closer, conjures back to the pleasantries of JT’s sweet boy-band pop. On here, it’s more of an adult contemporary episode, but one that feels just right on Timberlake’s crooning. He then slips into “Pair of Wings,” a modest lovemaker that floats on clouds of sultry strings and acoustic glory dressed with “She’s Out of My Life” bliss. But none of these events overshadow the virtuoso achievements of the first chapter of The 20/20 Experience. Still, it’s far from a tax write-off. Call it a complimentary addition to JT’s vision of 21st century R&B.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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