Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2


2.0
poor

Review

by Dakota West Foss USER (15 Reviews)
September 30th, 2013 | 70 replies


Release Date: 09/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shockingly boring and without a true hit, the second volume of The 20/20 Experience is entirely forgettable.

For better or worse, 2013 has cemented Justin Timberlake into pop’s pantheon. While Timberlake is certainly a talented individual, the powers that be have worked revisionist history to great effect in his favor. Take, for example, this year’s MTV Video Music Awards: Timberlake was afforded an uninterrupted nearly-twenty minute parade through his discography, including a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ reunion of the boy band that launched his name into superstardom in the first place (countless social media posts read: “I’ve waited for eleven years for this!”). While the spectacle certainly was an impressive parade of Timberlake’s –and, ostensibly, the previous decade’s- biggest hits, it seemed to play to a narrative that probably wouldn’t exist without some heavy hand-holding. Suddenly, a man who released a handful of legitimately great songs (and some of the biggest guilty pleasures this side of infinity) was being hailed as the prince of pop. Again, Timberlake is incredibly talented, lurching into the zeitgeist not only as a popstar, but an actor and (sometimes) comedian as well. But, given the vast number of legitimate contestants, to call him the as-a-matter-of-fact prince of pop doesn’t sit quite right; and nowhere is that more evident than on his latest release, the second volume of The 20/20 Experience.

Volume one arrived nearly six years after Timberlake’s pervious solo effort and, as such, the praise came quick and hyperbolic. While part one contained a few great songs (“Pusher Love Girl”, “Blue Ocean Floor”, “Strawberry Bubblegum”) and the inevitable massive hits (“Suit and Tie” and the wonderful “Mirrors”), it was also kind of a mess. Songs boasted runtimes that were entirely unjustified and beat-changes that were entirely too obtuse. To make things worse, the production was oddly thin, especially on the low-end –an odd choice for an album intended for the masses to dance to. It was a perfect microcosm of Timberlake’s musical career thus far: a few fantastic songs surrounded by too many forgettable ones.
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 doesn’t see those problems go away (the two parts were recorded in the same marathon session); in fact, they’re much worse. Songs like “True Blood” and “Only When I Walk Away” are so needlessly long that one would be forgiven for thinking that they’re some sort of amateur remix –but, no, they really are just that repetitive. The arrangements are still fairly ambitious and include everything from neo-funk to grimy, European dance, but they still sound oddly thin and hollow. Much of the time, the music seems to scale itself back to ostensibly rely on Timberlake’s charismatic voice, but even he sounds bored at times (“Amnesia”, “TKO”). It’s possibly that he’s aware of just how limp the material here really is; the album’s biggest flaw is that it lacks a true hit. Budweiser commercials and VMA performances did their damndest, but “Take Back the Night” (See: don’t rape) just doesn’t have the same resonation as the magic found within “Mirrors” or “Sexyback”.

The album does have its fair share of positives, however: for one, it’s not terrible –just entirely forgettable. Drake and Jay-Z help elevate “Cabaret” and “Murder” respectively with their own brands of, well, Drizzy and HOVA-ness. “Not A Bad Thing” sounds like a pretty good, if average, N*Sync song. However, that song's hidden track, “Pair of Wings”, actually steals the show by being a heart-breaking acoustic ballad that sounds both vital and convincing, ending things on a very positive note. While JT sounds complacent throughout most of 2 of 2, his usual charisma shines through on a handful of tracks like “Drink You Away” –even if he sounds like the world’s least-convincing drink-it-slow bar resident. And, really, with any semblance of editing, “True Blood” and “Only When I Walk Away” would probably be pretty cool.

Then again, that could probably be said of the entirety of The 20/20 Experience. Between both volumes, Justin Timberlake probably has a very solid album that might be worthy of his omnipresence. As it stands, however, there are entirely too many songs and questionable choices that prevent the two from becoming anything truly great. It’s a shame, too, because there are great ideas found within the exhausting runtime –there’s just entirely too much work needed to get to them. Ultimately, 2 of 2 will be forgotten and JT will continue to put out songs that will be impossible to escape. One day he may release the homerun that many claim he already has, but this isn’t it. But, hey, the prince is allowed to have a misfire, right?



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user ratings (328)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Andrew Gold CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The sensual ear candy to Part 1's soulful ambition...

Scott M. Baldwin (2)
When ambition exceeds quality....

Alex Beebe (2.5)
Goofy, and at times cringingly corny pop music stretched out to a bloated extent beyond any justific...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gwyn.
September 30th 2013


15272 Comments


ever heard of paragraphs

i have

i like paragraphs

Odal
September 30th 2013


350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wrote this fairly quickly, suggestions and whatnot are welcome.

Pretty bummed with this release.

Edit: yeah, I just edited the format haha. My bad.

Calc
September 30th 2013


12300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review man POS. Just fix the formatting.

Digging: Mr. Oizo - The Church

Gwyn.
September 30th 2013


15272 Comments


That was quick

good review

“Take Back the Night” (See: don’t rape)


i probably shouldn't have chuckled at this but i did gj

treeqt.
September 30th 2013


10960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

people and their opinions


i hate people


and their opinions

Digging: Alisa Weilerstein - Solo

oltnabrick
September 30th 2013


31300 Comments


track with Drake is really good probably my favorite on the album

Digging: Lil Debbie - Young Bitch

oltnabrick
September 30th 2013


31300 Comments


Cause I got you saying Jesus so much its like we are laying in the Manger

mynameisSlimShady
September 30th 2013


115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know. I love Amnesia and TKO. Hate Jay-Z verse like crazy. He almost ruined suit and tie and now this! Why he continues to be useless is beyond me. He should hang up the mic for good.

bloc
September 30th 2013


35004 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agreed with summary

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

kmace
September 30th 2013


159 Comments


You Got it On is phenomenal and I like Gimme and TKO quite a bit as well. Pretty solid album overall just a few duds here and there. Great review even if I don't agree with the rating.

oltnabrick
September 30th 2013


31300 Comments


the track with Drake is pretty memorable

aircycle
September 30th 2013


1020 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

amnesia tko and cabaret are pretty good fuck ugghhhh you got it on and only when i walk away are torturous

johnnydeking29
October 1st 2013


9455 Comments


Review is a reminder why I could not give less of a crap about this

Digging: Warren of Ohms - The Wolf and The Fox

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2013


21643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but its soooo good tho

Digging: Soen - Tellurian

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2013


21643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how many times are you gonna say part 1 was a 5 when it wasnt even a 5

KILL
October 1st 2013


72090 Comments


stop liking everything insurrection ugh

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

oltnabrick
October 1st 2013


31300 Comments


eight more times

Drummerboy123
October 1st 2013


2418 Comments


Doesn't touch part 1 but it has some killer tracks on it. Gimme, TKO, You Got It On and Amnesia are highlights for me.

Digging: Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

dan2309
October 3rd 2013


22 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Totally agree with your review man, this album is really boring! Never really been in to Timberlake but my friend told me this album was excellent..he was wrong. Pos'd

ShitsofRain
October 3rd 2013


5948 Comments


it's not excellent but great



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