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Justin Timberlake: ‘The 20/20 Experience’ Album Review

It’s been over six years since the release of his 2006 sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds. Since then, Justin Timberlake has focused on his acting career and personal life, marrying Jessica Biel in October of last year. Today, the 32-year-old entertainer fulfills his return to music with the release of his third studio album, The 20/20 Experience.

Teaming up yet again with his longtime collaborator Timbaland, The 20/20 Experience is a collection of ten sophisticated recordings lead by the work of a seasoned production artist and the transcendent singing of Justin Timberlake. From a majestic start to an emotional finish, between prominent hooks, beat breakdowns, refreshing instrumentation, and smooth transitions, The 20/20 Experience is an expertly written and produced body of work.

The album opens gracefully with the instrumentally slick “Pusher Love Girl,” and while melodically patient, Justin makes his presence known with a fashionably late introduction, bringing the old-school textures element and setting the tone for the rest of the album. Signature Timbaland comes to play on extended tracks such as “Don’t Hold The Wall” and “Tunnel Vision,” where he ups the tempo, and scatters his signature beatboxing. Both have single potential.

BUY Justin Timberlake’s new album The 20/20 Experience on iTunes NOW!

On “Strawberry Bubblegum,” a big favorite of mine, Justin turns up the sexy. It’s a gorgeously textured number featuring hints of sparkling electronica, ambient dream-pop, and smooth ’90s R&B flow – this is the song you make love to. “That Girl,” introduces The Tennessee Kids and supplies the sounds of a full-fledged jazz ensemble that bring back memories of Justified‘s “Senorita.”

Let the Groove Get In” shifts gears as the most uptempo moment on the whole album. Latin-flavor is thrown into the mix and it quickly becomes a totally legit fiesta. Then comes “Mirrors,” the official second single and undeniable standout of the record. The chorus alone is pop perfection that takes notes from the best songs off FutureSex/LoveSounds. As the album draws to a close, Justin takes a break from the climactic energy and brings 20/20 to an unexpected place with the haunting but powerful finale, “Blue Ocean Floor.” Its Justin like you’ve never heard him before. Absolutely stunning!

The 20/20 Experience may not be hailed as groundbreaking as FutureSex/LoveSounds, but without a doubt, the record shines as a solid body of work. In many ways, the album is not so much an evolution in sound but a perfected progression of FutureSex/LoveSounds. Its lengthy so it requires patience and repeated listening. Together it all makes and it should be celebrated that way. No obvious singles isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I rather have a solid body of work rather than just a few hit singles. The 20/20 Experience is the best sounding album you’ll probably hear all year. JT isn’t going anywhere just yet. 4.5/5

FYI: Justin has confirmed that the second half of his album will be released later this year, saying, “I gotta clear a rumor up. This whole thing about this being the first half of the album is TRUE. There is another half.”

BUY Justin Timberlake’s new album The 20/20 Experience on iTunes NOW!


  • Marco

    “An expertly written and produced body of work”… Were you listening to the same record as us? If it was some indie artist who did this album it would get the worst reviews. It’s extremely outdated in terms of production, it’s boring and the lyrics are utter crap. I wish JT would touch on some real issues like MJ did instead of going on for three albums about “girl you’re so fine”.

  • sambaya

    clearly jon doesn’t want to be in the same seat as kanye…..but the truth is jon ‘THE ALBUM IS WACK AND ITS A BIG FLOP’…i listened to it once and would never ever again…all the tracks are skippable…i honestly feel this is a appointment and that no one going to be talking about IT in a few weeks

  • Ashlee

    You guys are nuts. Just because an album isn’t just a whole bunch of upbeat dance songs doesn’t make it bad. It’s beautiful. There is actual instruments and none of it can be compared to anything else on the radio right now. Justin created his own lane.

  • Mike

    What may be outdated for one can be a welcomed throw back for another. I love his R&B and jazz fusion, it’s not groundbreaking but I’m glad this style is getting some mainstream attention. I actually find every song very exciting. It’s not obvious, you gotta really listen carefully to appreciate each track. A song that can be “heard” in one listen can either be really catchy or not worth a relisten. I agree with the “lack of substance”. I have no complaints, lyrics has never been important to me. But I do appreciate substance.

  • Ike

    I’ve listened through this a few times now, but I’m not really enjoying it either. It’s not terrible, but I’ve listened, I’ll delete from my Spotify and probably not go back to it.

  • Jason

    Justin Timblerlake is fortunate enough to have droves of people who will love his music no matter how bland or utterly lame it is. It’s called “throwing shit at the wall and having it stick.” After watching SNL I realized that he is an absolute master of impersonating other singers. His elderly Elton John was so spot on it was amazing. Suit and Tie would be funny too.. if it had funny lyrics and was an ACTUAL MJ paordy. But in trying to be an original song it just sounds like shitty Jackson 5. People shouldn’t have to “listen carefully to each track.” That’s what you say when you are a fantard who did exactly that until you liked every song. Casual listeners and casual fans are not under that obligation.

  • Joshua

    This album is heaping helping of BOREDOM. And the best song on the record, “Dress On”, can only be found on the Target edition. I’m not impressed with part 1 of this album.

  • Andrew

    I like this album so much I don’t even change songs. It is great! I will admit its hard at first to get through the 8:00 songs but after its done you want to listen again! People aren’t liking it because its not a club uptempo album. Well guys this is actual music :/ I know we aren’t used to listening it from Harlem shakes, and psy, but welcome. Classic r&b, jazz with a 60s flavor. LOVE THIS ALBUM.

  • Sophie

    I received it by mail and was pretty excited to hear the album. I did not enjoy the songs as I hoped I would. The only great ones are Suit & tie & Mirrors. I personally think that he should work with someone else and not with Timbaland. He needs to explore more of his music choices. I think that I would have to give it another listen.

  • EL

    “Spaceship Coupe” is the song that you make love to on this album. It’s made for it.

    Strawberry Bubblegum is cute enough, but after the first couple of listens, starts to border on cheesy, gimmicky or corny if you will.

  • Angie

    What the an bullshit to the people saying that we dont like the album cause its not upbeat or dance album. Its flat out boring except for a few songs. You dont need to “carefully listen to each song” to appreciate it. It grabs you instantly or it doesnt. I rather listen to michael buble for some good jazz.

  • Andrew

    I don’t understand how people have apparently listened to “Don’t Hold The Wall” and didn’t love it. I think a lot of people are judging the album on a quick skim through the tracks. Once I put my headphones in and listened to the entire album my whole opinion on the album changed. I can agree some songs are a bit drawn out or boring, but that doesn’t make them bad and it doesn’t take away from the fact that more than half the album is flawless.

  • dylangalvin

    It’s funny hearing everyones very opinionated takes on this. I’m a songwriter myself so this album was eh…..nothing groundbreaking lyrically, story wise or content wise…however, I have to say, that’s not really the appeal of Justin anyways. He’s an entertainer, singer and dancer. The production on this album is just insane, the hooks the beats are all great. I agree with alot of your review. Personally I hunt for meaning in songs not just the fun, but yeah overall this was not a bad album.

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