Review: Justin Timberlake’s ‘20/20 Experience’

March 30, 2013 

Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience."

  • R&B Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience

Album well worth the wait

After seven years, Justin Timberlake has finally released his third album, “The 20/20 Experience,” and it’s a brilliant piece of work that plays like a musical movement. The 10 tracks (which average seven minutes) weave into one another beautifully as his falsetto glides over each beat. It’s an unconventional adventure that makes your bones groove. Seriously.

Timberlake was flying high off 2006’s multiplatinum, Grammy-winning “FutureSex/LoveSounds” when he walked away from music to act. He made one good movie (the Oscar-winning “Social Network”) but the question everyone always had for him was, “When is that new album coming out?”

Maybe the former ’N Sync leader was stalling because of the monumental success “Future Sex/Love Sounds” triggered and the kind of pressure that places on a performer. That also may be why “20/20” echoes much of it. When “Spaceship Coupe” comes on, you’ll think of “Until the End of Time,” and “Let the Groove In” feels like “Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk to You (Prelude).” The album mirrors the futuristic R&B-esque vibe that helped Timberlake leap to the top of the musical ladder – only it’s not so futuristic anymore.

But it’s still vital music that rises above the R&B pack. “That Girl” starts off with old-school appeal, but dabbles into contemporary R&B with a swagger that’s also evident on “Mirror.” You can’t do anything but move your shoulders to “Don’t Hold the Wall” and “Pusher Love Girl” kicks off the album with the right energy. Even “Suit and Tie,” the solid yet a tad underwhelming first single, fits in nicely here.

These days, it’s hard for any star to follow-up a massively successful album, and the challenge gets even steeper when a years-absence is added to the equation. But with a great album on his side, Timberlake should find his return to the top a smooth ride.

Mesfin Fekadu/Associated Press

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