Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
Record Label: RCA Records
Release Date: September, 30 2013
"Is this review even necessary?" is what I thought when I sat down to type this out. It's Justin Timberlake; we knew the album was going to be good, we knew it was going to be great, we knew it was going to make females eveyrwhere weak kneed. Yet after my third and fourth listens, I realized that a review has never been more necessary. On The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2, Justin acts like a man that has been freed from a cage, ready with a multitude of ideas; not all of them good. It feels like an explosion of an incredibly talented man that has held back for too long. 2 of 2 is sexy, dark, provocative, but also trite and inconsistent. It starts off with a bang, but slows down too much and never gets back into the groove.
When FutureSex/LoveSounds was released, everyone lost their shit. It was innovative, full of experimentation, beautifully consitent, sounding nothing like the old Justin. It is now a classic album, showcasing his prowess as a musician. That's not to say that Justin has lost his prestige in reinvention. His lyrics are still incredibly lustful and he still has an ability to take himself as a muscian to new places. The beautifully dark "Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)" and "True Blood" is classic Timbaland, especially the latter which is a haunting, sexy song, that cannot be mistaken for anyone else but Timberlake, yet at the same time shows that there is a side of him that we have yet to meet.
"Cabaret" is an extremely strong track, yet having nothing special besides Drake as a guest feature; thankfully he is not singing and delivers a very strong set of verses. "T.K.O" is enjoyable and catchy except for the obnoxious and plain silly beginning ("She killed me with that cooch, cooch, cooch"). "Take Back the Night" is fantastic, yet utterly predictable.
The second half is where the cohesiveness falls apart. "Drink Me Away", a country influenced track coming off a hugely beat influenced first half, is an ultimately jarring experience. I know Justin was first exposed to country and blues while growing up in Tennessee and while it is interesting foray, it feels very out of place, especially when the next track, "You Got It On", is a silky smooth throwback to old school R&B.
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 is absolutely worth a listen. It is just a shame that the parts do not add up to a cohesive whole. It is especially saddening when I realized that there is no stand out track here. There is no "Senorita", "Sexyback", "My Love", "Mirrors". There is nothing here that is a smash hit; nothing amazing, nothing revolutionary, just more great Justin. He is incredible, a musical force to be reckoned with; it is just sad to know that he can do, and has done, better.