Surprise! Justin Timberlake has a new album out, and this time we didn’t have to wait six years for its arrival.
But alas, after listening to the album (and glancing at the respective Wikipedia pages), I realized that “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2” is merely a collection of B-sides that didn’t make the first album.
Now I’ll say this off the bat: I really love part one. While the songs were about three times as long as they needed to be, they were both written and produced strongly enough to not induce complete boredom.
The same thing happened in this new set of 10 songs, yet they don’t contain the original magic of the album’s first part (which probably explains why they are B-sides in the first place). The first half of the album is a bunch of rap beats that Timberlake sexily sings over, and they’re really no different from anything you’d hear on rap radio nowadays. And yes, Timberlake’s partner in swag, Jay-Z, is back for a cameo, as well as Mr. Darkness himself, Drake. The sole exception to this first half is the album’s lead single, “Take Back the Night,” which simultaneously rips off about five Michael Jackson songs at once.
The second half of the album returns to the randomness we now expect from Timberlake. “Drink You Away” is a country-blues tune, overproduced until all the real feeling is removed from it. This song could have easily gotten away with just an acoustic guitar and Timberlake’s voice.
For all you ’N Snyc diehards, the album’s supposed closer, “Not A Bad Thing,” sounds like a decade-old deep cut from the singing group. The best track on this album is the hidden track, “Pair of Wings.” This ballad is really the only song on the album with any true feeling, its minimalist production leaving plenty of room for, you know, feelings.
Now, I’m a progressive rock fan, so I have a musical attention span of about five hours. But for the many fans who enjoy listening to normal music, it may be hard to get through this album.
All of the songs are at least five minutes, which is long by pop standards. If you’re going to commit the concentration to listen to an extremely lengthy pop album, simply go back and listen to the original “The 20/20 Experience” again.