By Denielle Patterson
On Sept. 30, Justin Timberlake released his fourth studio album, the 20/20 Experience Part 2, just six months after the debut of the first part. Timberlake’s comeback was greatly anticipated and welcomed after his last album release in 2006. Following several song and movie features and being married to actress Jessica Biel in October 2012, Timberlake has returned happier than ever.
The 20/20 Experience is, evidently, a sweet serenade to his newlywed and a general celebration of life. The album is a compilation of soul, R&B, and a little hint of pop. In past years, Timberlake has adopted the R&B title and moved further away from his N’SYNC roots. Teaming up with rappers like T.I. for the single “Dead and Gone” or 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology” aided in Timberlake’s transformation, giving him a sense of street credit. This also altered the viewpoints of his fans, separating him from other male singers like Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars. He uses his vast musical abilities to his advantage in Parts one and two, creating entirely different experiences than previous albums Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds. Timbaland produced both Parts one and two, giving the tracks their signature R&B beats.
Most songs from Part One are more than five minutes long; reflecting the 70’s and 80’s, an era with music like Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” and Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something.” The 20/20 Experience Part Two continues with lengthy tracks with the entire album running about 74 minutes, making it longer than Part One. Similar genres remain in Part Two, displaying a darker, sexier side of Timberlake almost as if he’s up for a wild night out compared to Part One, where he’s on cloud nine.
The first single on the album, “Take Back The Night,” continues the R&B theme and groovy production seen in Part One. “TKO” was the second single released earlier in September. The song is an upbeat seven-minute track using an old-school Timberland beat and boxing puns. Both singles demonstrate the direction Timberlake took in Part Two of the 20/20 Experience, using less pop and more soulful R&B rhythms with Hip-Hop beats. Songs like “Drink You Away” and “Blindness” especially capture a soulful feel. Timberlake’s effort and hard work is apparent on this album, creating an entirely unique project from Part One. Growth and quality is always guaranteed from a Timberlake project as he works to expand and mesmerize his audience by pushing his limits. Unlike many albums that are littered with features, Timberlake limits artist appearances on his work to
fully display his talents. After being featured in Part One’s hit single “Suit and Tie,” Jay Z reappears in Part Two, giving the song “Murder” a Hip-Hop twist. The only other feature is Drake’s verse on the song “Cabaret,” which came off as mediocre and could have been done without.
The 20/20 Experience Part Two expresses different aspects of Timberlake and his musical abilities though still capturing his key elements which fans have grown to love. “True Blood” and “Gimme What I Don’t Know” are tracks made to get you out of your seat to perform your best JT dance moves, similar to his earlier hit “Rock Your Body.” This is a great quality for Timberlake in being able to create upbeat, fun music that differs from usual pop hits. The song “You Got It On” is a slower track that Timber
lake uses to show off his rich vocals reminiscent of songs like “Mirrors” and “That Girl” from Part One. Timberlake did an amazing job in establishing a new genre for himself on the 20/20 Experience Part One, experimenting with soulful vocals and lyrics, Motown inspired themes and live band performances. Continuing these themes beautifully in Part Two, he created a whole new project that reveals his music ability as endless. With that said, the 20/20 Experiences Part Two earns a rating of 8 out of 10 for overall quality, musical development and the unique compilation of genres used to uphold an entertaining and positive message. Part Two is last but definitely not least; Timberlake’s talent refuses to dwindle as his skills and potential grow with each album.
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