The 20/20 Experience 2 Of 2
As so many have confessed since the debut of his solo career in 2002, the male population has a secret “man crush” on Justin Timberlake. Whether it’s fueled by jealousy or simply a guilty pleasure, it’s clear the vet knows how to enrapture an audience with his falsetto, playful wordplay, boyish charm and enviable dance moves that allure more than the average pop star mirage. Suffice it to say the closing half to his compilation, The 20/20 Experience – 2 Of 2, certainly does not discriminate these tendencies. Enrolling help from Timbaland and J-Roc, JT draws together sultry R&B, rhythmic funk, vibrant jazz, and his own style of pop into a big-band conclusion that bares his confidence through grand orchestral builds (“Murder”) and tracks that dare to approach the ten minute mark (“Not A Bad Thing”).
Even with the busier, syncopated production of songs like “True Blood”, it’s near impossible to resist the urge to sway your hips and give in to Timberlake’s suggestive penmanship (“And you don’t gotta worry what you wear tonight/ Those heels lift me up where you fit me right”). And if that doesn’t grab hold of you, the coy verse from Drake on the tremendously seductive “Cabaret” will. But no matter how much the instrumental play or Marvin Gaye-inspired serenades can dress it up, it’s still painstakingly clear that Timberlake’s origins are rooted in pop music. His inclination toward clichéd quips and trite metaphors are abundant and they lyrically limit recordings like “TKO” and “Amnesia” from their full potential. But while one might cringe at cheesy themes, the layered harmonies and vocal control provide a much-needed revival that creates space for various forms of sonic bliss to intrude. In one corner, The 20/20 Experience – 2 Of 2 compliments its other half by being a more mature take on FutureSex / LoveSounds, yet from another POV, it’s a just a sheer sign that JT’s body count will continue to spike in both genders.
Listen: “Cabaret (ft. Drake)”, “Murder”, “You Got It On” || Watch: “Take Back The Night”