Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
Justin Timberlake has returned with his third LP The 20/20 Experience after a seven year absence from recording solo work which was spent focusing on his acting career. The singer has once again teamed up with musical collaborator and producer of choice Timbaland, who also produced Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds.
A decade ago Timberlake was undeniably the face of R&B, in a period where the genre was arguably at its most successful and interesting. Since then, R&B has often been combined with dance music to create club floor-fillers for pop fans – perhaps contributing to the loss of its soul. The 20/20 Experience clearly aims to revisit the credentials of the past.
The album opens with Pusher Love Girl, which is a beautifully constructed piece of work with a distinct nod to neo-soul. The lush harmonies are backed by jazz components, while the lyrics compare his lover to a drug dealer. Already the tone and subtext are more akin to Justified. Lead single Suit & Tie (featuring Jay Z) begins at half-tempo before stepping up a gear and unveiling itself as a smooth hit which will light up dance floors this summer.
Don’t Hold the Wall reiterates the seductiveness of Timberlake’s song writing as he flows over Asian sounds and a heavy bass, which later comes into its own: another dance floor winner. Second single, Mirrors is a safe attempt that will no doubt please the mainstream punter (already spending two weeks at number one on the charts). Still, there are really quirky and inventive moments such as Let the Groove Get In and Tunnel Vision, which indicate Timbaland is back to his best as a producer, while Timberlake still evokes the abilities of Michael Jackson and Prince with songs like Strawberry Bubblegum and Spaceship Coupe.
Noticeably, all but three tracks are over five minutes long, which implies Timberlake has decided to work with fewer constraints, and without the pressure of creating pop-sized portions for the easily fed. However, it doesn’t feel overcooked; in fact, with repeat listens the album grows to seismic proportions. Timberlake sounds better than ever and it becomes impossible not to fall into his melodies. The 20/20 Experience is truly magnificent, recapturing the fundamentals of American R&B, in the modern arena.
The 20/20 Experience is released on 19th March 2013. For further information or to order the album visit Justin Timberlake’s website here.
Watch the video for Suit & Tie here: