We got spoiled, JT fans! After enduring a seven-year wait, Justin Timberlake released his second album this year. Calling part 2 of The 20/20 Experience the darker, older sister of part 1, Justin and Timbaland bring on all the stylistic sounds that define their music partnership. The result is a much sexier sounding album, that for the most part, lives up the JT’s description of it being darker than part 1. Once again, thought to only be a Target exclusive, the deluxe edition of the album is the one that’s being sold everywhere in Canada (so yay for us!)
- Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) – Like Pusher Love Girl on part 1, this song sets the tone for what we can expect for this rest of this album. Gimme What I Don’t Know plays up on the jungle theme and gives us this sexy, dance sound that kind of reminds me of some of Timbaland’s old tracks. On the same end, it also reminds me a little of FutureSex/LoveSounds (the song) – can’t exactly pinpoint why, but it does.
- True Blood – When I saw this title, obviously the first thing I thought of was the show, and I’m like “Ok let’s see where he’s gonna go with this…” What JT brings here is a dark, sexy, and yes, vampiristic (probably not a word, but just go with it) song, that will make you dance and will be so fun to watch on tour.
- Cabaret ft. Drake – I think this is a great collaboration. The song itself is like the older, sexier version of My Love (the theme continues!) with Drake coming in for T.I. The collaboration works so well because Drake isn’t your typical rapper and he has the R&B influences in his own songs. With Justin’s songs being that pop/R&B/hip-hop mix, the two artists together just work so well.
- TKO – This was a smart choice for a second single and it plays so well for radio. Obviously I like hearing my favourite artists on the radio, so I’d be waiting to hear JT regardless, but I LOVE hearing this song when it comes on the radio and I’m sitting in the car. I don’t know why but this song just makes for good driving music (or maybe it applies more to when sitting in traffic).
- Take Back the Night – The lead single took some flack for its title, but besides that little controversy, the song is the best kind of throwback dance song. It evokes a feeling of some Michael Jackson classics, that you honestly can’t help but dance along to.
- Murder ft. Jay-Z – Justin and Jay-Z keep killing it on all their collaborations, from their songs to their stadium tour. The beats are classic Timbaland and is a slight reminder to his work with Missy Elliott. If this song was around back in my high school dance crew days, this would totally be a track we’d use.
- Drink You Away – JT mixes in a little country-rock flavour to this track. I call this like a follow-up to Pusher Love Girl, if only because after being high on love in that song, Justin’s now heartbroken and trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol.
- You Got It On – For some reason, I don’t think Justin has used his falsetto this much in a song as he does here. That’s not meant to be deemed as a bad thing, as his falsetto on this more innocent-sounding track gives it almost a Motown feel.
- Amnesia – For those who don’t like how long most of these songs are, I give you this song as a case for it. It’s a dark R&B track about the person you love changing so much that you don’t know who they are anymore. Just when you think the song ended, Justin comes back in with a more solemn tone in his voice, lamenting his relationship. It sounds almost like two separate songs.
- Only When I Walk Away – We get treated to a little rock edge to Justin’s sound on this track. It’s a little bit of a foot-stomper that will play so well live when he goes on tour.
- Not A Bad Thing/Pair of Wings [Hidden Track] – Blame it on the recent, albeit short, *NSYNC reunion, but my friend made a point to me that Tunnel Vision off part 1 of the “Experience” sounded like something that *NSYNC would do if they were recording in the present day. So when I heard Not A Bad Thing, I felt like there was such an easy flow to it that reminded of the 90s pop I grew up on. It’s a good song,even though it feels a little out of place on this album. The same can be said about Pair of Wings, an extra hidden track that gets put on the album. It’s a sweet (slightly cheesy in the vein of Nothin’ Else) acoustic guitar-driven pop song that seems so weird being on this album, when compared to the rest of the album.
- Blindness [Bonus Track] – If the previous song reminded me of 90s pop, well, this one reminds me of 90s R&B. It just has a nice smooth flow to it.
- Electric Lady [Bonus Track] – It’s another case of “this sounds like old school Timbaland” where you could imagine it being an Aaliyah track with different lyrics because it’s straight up R&B, and he’s not experimenting too much with the beats.
I loved this album at first listen, and with each subsequent listen, I love it even more. Then hearing it in the car, as opposed to just on the computer, I pick up more little details in the production, which is really cool (and actually applies to both parts of the “Experience”). As two separate albums, I loved the retro throwback sounds of part 1, and especially love the Latin flavour he brought on Let the Groove Get In. Not that there weren’t dance-able moments in part 1, but I feel like there’s a lot more of it on part 2. I also feel like radio will be more receptive to the songs on part 2; there’s more potential singles on this one.
Regardless, I love both albums and I just hope the wait for the next album isn’t as long as the wait between FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience.