Wow, has this week been nuts. We just moved and unfortunately we get no internet or cable until like June 9th or something like that. I don’t have a laptop, so I can’t go to Starbucks or something to get wifi, and my iPad capabilities are limited when it comes to WordPress (and pre-orientation college information, too). My original plan for this week was to write about a Frank Turner album, but as I have no internet, I had no way to buy/download/stream/listen to it and I couldn’t find a hard copy. So that plan went out the window pretty fast. My dogs ended up saving my butt again, as I had to drive to Cleveland to pick them up, and on that trip I ended up listening to some JT. Therefore, I give you (hopefully before midnight)….
Album: The 20/20 Experience (Part 1) Artist: Justin Timberlake
And what an experience it is. A Justin Timberlake album is unique in that it’s designed for the listener. If you’re going to listen to a JT album, you have to commit and listen to it, because you don’t get the full experience if you don’t.
The 20/20 Experience was Timberlake’s first album since FuterSex/LoveSounds which came out in 2006, so I think everyone was wondering what to expect from his epic return to the music industry. Well, it’s an experience to say the least. The album features ten songs that average about six or seven minutes each, which seems abnormally long for a pop album — but this isn’t just any pop album.
I won’t deceive you — I’m totally on the JT bandwagon, and let me tell you why. I think Justin Timberlake is very innovative, something that has been pretty apparent. Together with Timbaland as his producer, JT hasn’t disappointed me yet. The 20/20 Experience has a lot of interesting sounds, and pulls influence from what is undoubtedly some old school funk and pop, and maybe even some classic R&B. It’s a very artistic album and every song has quite a few rhythm and melody changes. In short, the JT you hear on the radio is not the JT you hear on the album. I mean, they aren’t gonna play eight minutes of experimental funk on the radio, as cool as that would be. Side note: this is why I went totally hipster and just quit listening to the radio.
Back to the point, the artistic aspect of his albums is what makes JT one of the better pop artists of our time. The 20/20 Experience has the upbeat pop you would expect from Justin Timberlake, the sexy lyrics you’d expect from Justin Timberlake, and the ultimate class you’d expect from Justin Timberlake, but it’s also completely different from anything you’d expect from Justin Timberlake.
I think the best example of this is not found in “Suit & Tie” or “Mirrors” (both good songs that were very overplayed by the radio), but in songs like “Pusher Love Girl,” “Don’t Hold The Wall,” and “Spaceship Coupe.” I guess my point here is that if you think you know JT, you don’t know JT until you’ve sat and listened to the art that he puts out. When discussing the origin of the albums title, Timberlake quotes a friend of his who described it as “music you can see.” Honestly, that’s the best way to describe it. My only major criticism for the album is the length of each track. At some point, in the eight minutes that is almost every single track, there is a repetitive nature that does get a little old on say, the eight listen. To me, this isn’t the album I’d leave in my cd player for days on end, but rather something I’d like to put on when I’m doing chores or just want to have my own private dance party.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the album, and I recommend you sit down and listen to it straight through at least once. Make sure you have a good chunk of time if you choose to do so. Hopefully I can get to Part 2 some time in the future. Until that happens though, keep listening!!
As always, comments or requests are appreciated!
Honorable Song Mentions: Don’t Hold The Wall, Spaceship Coupe, That Girl, Blue Ocean Floor