Justin Timberlake’s third album “The 20/20 Experience” has gotten rave reviews from all my music fiends on Twitter. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as them. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it; I actually enjoyed much of it. But there were many things that I hated about it.
First, the things I liked: Timberlake is a talented performer. His voice and falsetto is excellent. The whole album has a classy vibe which is pleasant to listen to. And there is a diversity of R&B influences on the album, both modern and classic. Those include Frank Ocean, Drake, Robin Thicke, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Motown.
Now, what I hated about it. The lyrics of most of the songs are sub-par. The Guardian’s review was correct when it described the album’s lyrics as ‘porny’ and awful. Also, the album is bloated. Many of the songs are 7 or 8 minutes long. For most of those songs, the long length is unnecessary. The same beat and lyrics are repeated frequently. It just makes these songs drag.
I enjoyed half of the songs on the album, while the other half was so-so. “Suit and Tie” makes a great first single. Like some of Timberlake’s previous work, it echoes Michael Jackson well. “Strawberry Bubblegum” effectively combines the downtempo R&B of The Weeknd or Drake with a 70s R&B sound. “Blue Ocean Floor” echoes Frank Ocean. It is the most creative song on the album, complete with introspective lyrics, sound effects and hazy strings. “Pusher Love Girl” is a horn-y, upbeat late 70s-influenced track. It’s a nice track, although it just needs the first four minutes, not the whole eight. “Mirrors” is the most modern-sounding track. It’s an excellent track that sounds like it could have been Timberlake’s previous album.
“Spaceship Coupe” echoes Prince’s mid-80’s sound. Prince is my favorite artist (besides Michael Jackson). Personally, I found it just an okay homage to Prince. Tracks “Let The Groove In” and “Don’t Hold The Wall” have decent, ethnic influenced beats, but suffer from a poor chorus and lyrics.
Every pop and R&B fan should check the album. Despite the various flaws, there is some excellent music here. (3.75 out of 5 stars)
—Isa R Bufano (03/27/2013)