The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
Back in March, LxL mostly gushed over Justin Timberlake’s long-awaited musical return, The 20/20 Experience, the surprisingly experimental pop record from the former ‘N Sync singer. Sure it was mostly bubblegum pop music, but it was chopped, twisted, and expounded upon in fresh and interesting ways. When I heard there was a part two coming of the album, I couldn’t believe Timberlake would release what was sure to be a second smash album in seven months. However, with The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2, we get what is essentially a glorified b-sides (closer to d-sides) album with none of the ingenuity of part 1 and a whole lot more stupidity.
In previews and reviews for Pt. 2, I have seen the album described as kind of return to signature vintage Timberlake, which I guess really just means a bunch of stale Timbaland-produced dance club tracks and boyish love ballads. “Gimme What I Don’t Want Know (I Want)” opens with such an overly punctuated Timbaland beat that it totally hides the vocal performance and sounds like something New Kids On the Block might have pulled off in the 80’s. “True Blood” is another overly produced club track that is so overcooked it’s too distracting to get people moving. Like Part 1, these songs all revolve around simple and repetitive melodies, but unlike Part 1, these melodies are simply no good.
Lyrics have never really been Timberlake’s forte, but in the past, the lyrics have been passable for a pop song. First, Timberlake wants you to know his girl is so pretty she is a knockout, on “TKO”, saying “Kill me with the coo-coochie-coochie-coo.” If getting knocked out wasn’t enough, “Murder” has to be one of the clumsiest analogies for a sexy girl, with Timberlake saying “everything below your neck killin’ everything next/It’s murder, murder” and JT’s touring partner Jay-Z rebutting with “Yoko Ono, she got that Yoko Ono/You know that sh** that made John Lennon go solo.” It’s the type of thing that makes Jay-Z’s forgettable Magna Carta Holy Grail look like an album of the year candidate. Hidden closing track “Pair of Wings” sounds and reads like something Justin Timberlake would have written when he was in the Mickey Mouse Club: “But if I could fly you away/With a big old pair of wings.”
Maybe some of it is after a long hiatus, we have simply become oversaturated with Timberlake this year. Between all the TV appearances, commercial spots, and radio play, it’s clear that one album worth of material is enough for 2013 with JT, though he could have helped himself by not releasing the shoddiest album of his career following his finest. Timberlake would be best switching out “Take Back the Night” for “Let the Groove In” on part 1 and then burying The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 deep under the earth.
Can’t Miss: “Take Back the Night”
Can’t Hit: Everything else