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Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

  • Release date: 15 March 2013
  • Label: RCA records

In The 20/20 Experience, Timberlake deftly blends pop, soul, and R&B from the past 40 years into a string of epic seven-minute songs that brazenly celebrate the pleasures of love and music. More cautious and ambitious than his debut album Justified, and more coherent than FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), the record mashes up entire critical value systems in addition to genres and conventional song patterns.

20/20 has Timbaland, along with protege Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, returning to the sounds that flipped so many ears at the beginning of this century: the Bhaṅgṛā rhythms that drive “Don’t Hold the Wall”, the squealing vocal samples of “Spaceship Coupe”, the sinister synths of “Tunnel Vision”. And the new twist is also a blast from the past: many songs here are augmented with live instrumentation and vocal harmonies that go back to Motown, Stax, and Trojan. The stunning soul strut “That Girl” samples reggae great King Sporty’s “Self Destruct”, with Timbaland and Timberlake essentially approaching retro-pop with a hip-hop mentality. It’s then, it’s now, it’s the type of song that’ll be around for a long while.

20/20 is similar to Beyoncé’s 4, another recent album that deftly separated excitement from contentment. Similar to Beyoncé, Timberlake aspires to rise above the crowd of people who choose rapid, monotonous, and frequently mind-numbing songs over boom-boom sounds. It’s a wise course of action.

Timberlake is in a particularly opportunistic position to indulge in such aspirations. As a star who grew up in the money-printing CD era, he’s got enough notoriety and loyalty to be able to challenge his audience without alienating them. So he’s giving hopeless romantics just a little hope, one clattering seven-minute ode at a time.

Stream Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience and let us know what you think

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience Tracklist

1. Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)
2. True Blood
3. Cabaret
4. T.K.O.
5. Take Back The Night
6. Murder
7. Drink You Away
8. You Got It On
9. Amnesia
10. Only When I Walk Away
11. Not A Bad Thing