Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2


2.5
average

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
October 9th, 2013 | 163 replies


Release Date: 09/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Goofy, and at times cringingly corny pop music stretched out to a bloated extent beyond any justification.

It’s a complete gimmick. Timberlake’s reasoning for the immense girth of his 7-plus-minute epics that were abundant throughout the first part of The 20/20 Experience was, “If Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin can do 10-minute songs and Queen can do 10-minute songs then why can't we?” And that’s as decent an argument as any I suppose, but when you then proceed to release a follow-up album with an even longer running time, and more drawn-out tracks even still, it’s a bit obvious that this whole idea of composing pop songs that far exceed the average radio hit’s length is a very forced and deliberate attention ploy. There’s nothing wrong with having lengthy songs at all, and this would not be an issue that needs to be addressed if said songs were constructed to sustain themselves for over a running time of 4-minutes, but the tracks on the first part of The 20/20 Experience enervated themselves by continuing long after all their ideas had been used up, and unsurprisingly, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 shows more obvious signs of suffering from this.

This isn’t bad music, it’s just trying to be overtly infectious by repeatedly hammering out the hooks in a fatigued way, rather than concentrating the music into precise and focused forms. When these hooks are first introduced however, they’re copiously solid. The brazen brass section coupled with the vigorous funk stomp of the jungle-themed “Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)” kicks off the album is a legitimate and concise manner. As “True Blood” then follows suit and roars (quite literally) in with its samples of wolves howling and siren-sounding synthesizer in rotation, Timberlake’s uniquely cunning and ferociously titillating vocal performance is undermined by levels of lyrical cheese that go from fun and lovable to flat-out insufferable over its 9-and-a-half-minute expanse that gradually grows more and more tedious and pointless by the second.

“TKO” could’ve been acceptable as a standard fare stomp and clap anthem if your hands and feet didn’t go numb as the sixth minute clocks in. “Take Back the Night” keeps the cornball rolling forward with some disco-revival that might have echoed Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams’ recent tributes paid to the era had the song put more emphasis on immediate catchiness rather than Timberlake’s tired lyricism about the same character-deprived female figures. That’s not to say riveting lyricism is something you’d look for in a solo album from a former member of a boy band, but Timberlake’s choruses are already lessened in their engrossing nature on this album as a result from constant repetition over these lengthy songs, so the awkward sexual innuendo involving nameless woman coming from a now married man doesn’t aid in 2 of 2’s enjoyment narrative-wise. Drake and JAY Z offer some hip hop grooves and rapped lyricism of their own, but this is the Timberlake and Timbaland show, so despite their efforts they really can’t help but feel grievously out of context and overshadowed by the rest of the starkly contrasting music’s elements.

What’s interesting is that the shortest songs that are around the 4-5-minute range are the most forgettable ones in comparison to arena-scaled, swagger-induced southern rock heat of “Only When I Walk Away” and the weeping strings of the crestfallen (or at least as sad as Timberlake can probably get) “Amnesia.” And that’s a real shame that the most infectious tracks are bogged down by unnecessarily excessive filler outros and the cyclical nature of their verses, because if Timberlake and Timballand didn’t stretch sugary adult contemporary R&B ballads like the closer “Not a Bad Thing” to an irrationally overblown 8-minutes, the combined forces of the diversely inspired production on Timballand’s part and Timberlake’s irresistible falsetto would work wonders on abbreviated songs that last within listeners long after they’re over, as opposed to just lasting until the initial absorption is diminished. As it stands, the central and glaring flaw of both The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 and its brother album is that it gives you no real good reason to listen to the rest of the songs after they each lay all their cards down on the table; and not to mention within a time frame of what would have been the radio edit anyway.



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user ratings (329)
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....

Dakota West Foss (2)
Shockingly boring and without a true hit, the second volume of The 20/20 Experience is entirely forg...


Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
October 9th 2013


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Can't say I'm too surprised with how incredibly unpopular this album is right now in comparison to the first part. Would have been wise for Timberlake to wait it out and let everyone be hungry for more.

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2013


1684 Comments


I have to say that's one of the more awkwardly written summaries I've seen in a while. "Cringingly corny" and "stretched out to a bloated extent beyond any justification" are really wtf-worthy.

Rowan5215
October 9th 2013


27869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Review reads a bit harsher than 2.5 I think but you raise some good points

Wadlez
October 9th 2013


4651 Comments


Man is a bit overexposed for my liking

jtswope
October 9th 2013


2447 Comments


Haven't heard part 2 yet but it does really seem like a "look at me" kind of thing. Great review as usual.

breakingthefragile
October 9th 2013


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@jtswope Glad you liked it Justin, good to see you around again.

@YourDarkAffected I thought it read alright, but any suggestions on what I could do to alter it?

jtswope
October 9th 2013


2447 Comments


Yeah I've unfortunately been too busy to write as many reviews as I would like these past couple months, but I'm trying to get back into it slowly. But yeah nice job.

breakingthefragile
October 9th 2013


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@jtswope Well you're one of my favorites so I look forward to when you do get back into it! And thanks
again bro.

@Rowan5215 Yeah, it definitely reads like a 2/5 review because I bring up a lot more negative points
than positive ones, and I was honestly debating whether or not I should rate this as a 2, but I still
find it to be average quality stuff. Unfortunately there's only so many ways I can stress that in a
review without repeating myself.

tommygun
October 9th 2013


25117 Comments


fuck this piece of shit album

Digging: Banks - Goddess

avonbarksdale221
October 9th 2013


8263 Comments


A 1 from tommy? Damn you must hate this.
First one sucked so I can't be fucked with this

Keyblade
October 9th 2013


15226 Comments


Don't even feel like checking this

Digging: Insides - Euphoria

demigod!
October 9th 2013


45005 Comments


agreed plug.dj/hybrid-theory/

Digging: Autechre - LP5

tommygun
October 9th 2013


25117 Comments


mostly dug the first one like 3-3.5 but this shit is too much

far worse songs dragged out far longer it's just such a chore to sit through

Keyblade
October 9th 2013


15226 Comments


Wish I could demi, in class right now

tommygun
October 9th 2013


25117 Comments


be quiet lakes

Rowan5215
October 9th 2013


27869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

damn tommy
damn

avonbarksdale221
October 9th 2013


8263 Comments


Another time Demi bro got shit to do

Rowan5215
October 9th 2013


27869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

and yeah @breaking I understand what you mean but if I were to read the review without looking at the rating I would definitely assume it was a 2 you know
Still really well-written though although obviously I don't really agree

breakingthefragile
October 9th 2013


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Rowan5215 Thanks man, good to know you think I did well on this. Believe me, I really want to like these albums more, but I'm gonna have to echo what tommy said about both of them being chores to sit through.

tommygun
October 9th 2013


25117 Comments


first one wasn't a chore for me apart from a few patches here and there (strawby gum outro) but this whole thing is just so

good review btw



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