Zachary Gray – Sports Editor
After a seven-year hiatus, Justin Timberlake returns with his third solo album, “The 20/20 Experience.” Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, Rob Knox, The Tennessee Kids, Timbaland, and Timberlake are the producers for this RCA album. The 32-year old pop singer from Memphis, Tenn. Released a letter on his website in January confirming he had been working on new music since last June. The wait for “JT” fans was indeed worth it.
“The 20/20 Experience” starts with “Pusher Love Girl,” which features a dramatic orchestra intro. “Pusher Love Girl” includes brass bass and funky guitar melodies, setting the tone for the rest of the album: groove, sophistication, and sensuality. Timberlake’s previous albums achieved groove and seduction, as nearly any pop singer can do, but “The 20/20 Experience” is an example of a once boy-band member maturing into an adult male performer.
The first single from Timberlake’s album is “Suit & Tie” featuring rapper Jay-Z. The intro kicks off with low brass and echoing drums, but jumps into a higher-pace beat. An echoed snare and quick brass melodies make this song extremely catchy. Timberlake, vocally, remains at a high octave throughout the song, contrasting the deep beat. Jay-Z’s cameo provides a breakdown in “Suit & Tie” without ruining the flow of the song.
“Mirrors” is the second single off “20/20.” Although guitars and orchestra strings give “Mirrors” its own sound, it’s hard not to notice the tempo and beat are exactly the same as Timberlake’s first solo single, “Cry Me A River.” Timberlake’s second single is the longest song on this album with a running time of 8:06. “Mirrors” breaks down at about 5:30 with a deep kick bass, small synth, and piano melodies, and male vocals repeating, “you are, you are, the love, of my life.” Timberlake does add in other vocals, as well.
Other notable songs include “Spaceship Coupe,” “That Girl,” and “Let The Groove Get In.” Slow tempo, synth bass, and a guitar solo makes “Spaceship Coupe” one of the better love jams from this album. “That Girl” is an upbeat and groovy song featuring a great guitar melody. “Let The Groove Get In” is a classic, fast-tempo pop song, giving slight change in the mood of the album.
Timberlake’s third album is exactly what it’s titled: an experience. The average length of an individual song is 7:41. Each song compliments the other both vocally and instrumentally, making “The 20/20 Experience” more enjoyable to listen in its entirety. Although the album provides stellar instrumentals, the lyrics in many of the songs are simply bad (“Strawberry Bubblegum” is a prime example of this). Regardless, “The 20/20 Experience” proves that Timberlake hasn’t skipped a beat.
An additional 10 songs will be released in November to make up the second half of “20/20,” according to Billboard. It’ll be interesting to see how Timberlake follows up his third solo album.
“The 20/20 Experience” is now available in stores and online.