Justin Timberlake returned this week with the release of the second part of his album, “The 20/20 Experience.”
The album is anchored by the single “Take Back the Night” a smooth track with hints of disco that has already taken over the radio. “Take Back the Night” is followed by a slew of heavily syncopated songs regarding sex and women including, “Murder” and “TKO.”
Catchy beats notwithstanding, one of the most frustrating aspects of “2 of 2” is the lack of consistency. Songs open with beautiful and unique hooks that stop as soon as the singing begins, there is no theme that connects the two albums together and even internally, “2 of 2” is comprised mostly of singles and lacks an overarching theme.
“2 of 2” contains only ten tracks but adds up to almost seventy minutes of listening time. No track is shorter than the four minutes and the longest is almost twelve. The extrenuous length of the tracks indicates an attempt at artistry that is not realized in the songs themselves. These lengthy songs are unnecessary and weigh down what could have been a much smoother flowing album.
The longest track on the album, “Not a Bad Thing” is almost twelve minutes and delivers the best moment on the record with the hidden track “Pair of Wings”, which begins six minutes into the song. What starts as a Justin Beiberesque pop song transitions into a beautiful, acoustic melody that shows Timberlake at his rawest. This hint at the music Timberlake is capable of makes the rest of album seem stale and shallow in comparison.
Timberlake album is exactly as expected: cocky, catchy and fun but it lacks musical progression from 2007’s “Future Sex/Love Sounds.”
It’s difficult to buy into the image of Timberlake as a womanizing partier anymore when he got married last year. His life has progressed while his music remains stagnant.
“2 of 2” is not a bad album. It delivers fun, catchy songs and will undoubtedly add to Timberlake’s wealth and fame. But it lacks substance and fails to demonstrate growth on Timberlake’s part until a brief moment on the final track. It’s difficult to accept this album when considering what could have been.
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