By: Kyle Grim
After seemingly disappearing from music for the last seven years (except for his fantastic collaborations with the Lonely Island), Justin Timberlake returns with a brand new album.
On his third solo effort, Timberlake shows how much he has progressed as a musician and songwriter. The lead single “Suit and Tie” is not only the best song on the album, but possibly the best song Timberlake has ever recorded. It’s incredibly smooth with a nice groove.
The verses are extremely danceable and can easily get stuck in your head. Plus, Jay-Z provides a fantastic feature verse. A bizarre characteristic of this album is the length of the songs. The average time is about seven minutes, with the shortest clocking in four minutes and 48 seconds. Sometimes a song overstays its welcome, such as “Don’t Hold the Wall.”
There are multiple points where the song could have ended and been excellent, but its length and repetition lessen its potential. Other songs, such as “Mirrors” or “Pusher Love Girl,” manage to explore enough new ideas that they remain fresh. Lyrically, the songs are typical Timberlake fare, focusing on love and innuendo, as evidenced by “Pusher Love Girl” and “Strawberry Bubblegum.”
However, the overall ambition of the album’s sweeping arrangements is to be commended. Timberlake has improved tremendously as a songwriter. His attention to detail is truly astonishing and one has to wonder if he spent the last few years learning music theory instead of acting.
The 20/20 Experience should not be dismissed as a mere pop album. There are many surprising moments of artistic brilliance that elevate the record into new heights. Hopefully, Justin Timberlake will not make us wait for seven more years to enjoy his newfound prowess.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars