Justin Timberlake has just about reached god-like status in the last decade, but not even this kind of reputation can support the disappointing release of the second half of his latest album, “The 20/20 Experience.”
After the first release of the album, it was clear that this mature version of Justin Timberlake should proudly wear the crown of this generation’s pop king. Part one of “The 20/20 Experience” was full of powerful love ballads mixed with just the right amount of Sinatra class and chilling dance beats.
On part one of the album, the only real complaint of the former boy band member was the lengthy behavior of his songs. At this point, Justin has clearly earned the right to go on for as long as he likes, but he has to have a purpose involved.
Tracks like “Suit and Tie” are the kind of gold fans like to keep spinning. There is no doubt that he has clear talent and built his credibility through albums like “Justified.” I challenge any music fan that will not bow down to the past genius that is Timberlake on tracks like “Cry Me a River.”
But his newest work is hard to feel strongly about and for some reason; I just can’t keep traveling on the same bandwagon that critics have been riding for so long.
Timberlake starts with songs like, “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)” and “True Blood.” Listeners will be shocked by the artist’s clear strain to fit unnecessarily lame lyrics into less than exciting beats. What happened to the Neo-Rat Pack class of the first part release? Love stories like “Mirrors” are replaced with songs like “TKO,” which boil down pain of a heartbreak to being cut in the eye.
Lyrically, Timberlake has never had to prove too much. I am not saying that his hits “Sexy Back” or “Rock Your Body” were poetic justice, but at least these songs supplied fans with the perfect blend of upbeat dance-funk.
The newest release is just too simple and vulgar, seemingly for no reason at all. The one redeeming song on the album is called “Take Back the Night,” which is the only true track worth listening to. This song doesn’t feel so forced to try to be something it isn’t.
Jay-Z is featured on a track called “Murder,” and I have to wonder how the legend of hip-hop could justify coming out of retirement for less than impressive songs like this. I’m sure country fans everywhere are shaking their heads at Timberlake’s displeasing attempt at pop country with “Drink You Away.” For an album title that implies perfect vision, these two parts are hardly a visible match.
Timberlake comes up short this time, and it seems he’s finally hit one reinvention too far. The pop star should have taken a lesson from the same downfall of The Red Hot Chili Peppers release of “Stadium Arcadium”: less is more.