Justin Timberlake’s ‘20/20’ sequel succeeds, lives up to hype

Fresh off of the Legends of the Summer Tour with Jay Z, Justin Timberlake is back with producer and friend Timbaland with the release of “The 20/20 Experience    Part Two.”

These two different albums seem to make up two different eyes and when they come together they create “The 20/20 Experience.” Clocking in at just over 74 minutes, four minutes longer than Part 1, Part 2 is for sure a long experience that takes the listener on a journey that one may not even be able to comprehend by the time the last song plays.

The first track, “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want),” takes one on a trip down memory lane. It takes one back to a time when Timberlake cried a river and brought sexy back. Make sure not to get too used to the sound, because it will change entirely throughout the rest of the album.

The lead single, “Take Back the Night,” was released back in July, but seems to be the only song to tie together Part 1 and 2. With its retro feel, “Take Back the Night” sounds as if it is a continuation of Timberlake’s previous “Suit and Tie,” just without the success. There was not enough time for this track to become a summer anthem and it was overlooked. The second single, “TKO,” may not be the total knockout Timberlake was looking for. The only enthusing boxing element this track has to offer is the beat boxing.

The “Suit and Tie” and “Holy Grail” collaborations of Timberlake and Jay Z lives on with “Murderer.” On this track, Timberlake compares his lady to a murderer, with Jay Z coming in with rhymes.

Another big-time collaboration on Part 2 is with Drake. This seems like a common recording label tactic to bring in a new audience, especially those who favor Drake.

In “Take Back the Night,” Timberlake demands for the horn section to play, and it sure does. As the horns are brought in, they add a sense of culture and bring a classical vibe to the track.

“True Blood” is demanded by Timberlake to bring in the guitars. The acoustics of the guitars has listeners envisioning Timberlake performing at an open mic. Although the acoustic guitars give for a nice break from all of the heavy bass, this nine-minute song could have easily been cut in half. Timberlake repeats “She’s got that true blood” for far too long.

A major component to this album is having a lot of instrumental sections, which led to the album’s length. With a song like “Amnesia,” the first 17 seconds are beautiful and include a dramatic string ensemble. Listeners may forget they are listening to a Timberlake song. It is a beautiful sound, but one may think “why is this included?”

“Only When I Walk Away” leaves one thinking, by the four-minute marker, the same thing Timberlake does, “she loves me now, she loves me not…” So many sounds, from the electric guitar to the heavy bass and the odd quacking to a woman yelling, in one song that one will find it difficult to find the fine line of liking or disliking this track.

By the time track seven, “Drink You Away,” comes along, one is taken back by the rock sound. But he does not completely throw away his R&B, pop style for good; there are many underlying tones throughout it.

“You Got It On” and “Not a Bad Thing,” the longest song on the album which we find out that there is a hidden track entitled “Pair of Wings,” bring out the old Timberlake. Together, all “three” of these songs show off Timberlake’s falsetto voice and his runs that make him a true superstar. The final track, “Not a Bad Thing”, leaves one with the impression one has just listened to an explicit ‘N Sync song.

Fans of Timberlake who love his early albums may be more invested in “The 20/20 Experience Part 2,” rather than the du-op inspired “Part 1.”

Listeners may find that there is too much going on in this album. Hopefully, the yet-to-be-released documentary of the making of the album will bring us clear, 20/20 vision.


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