Since the days of FutureSex/LoveSounds, we’ve all been waiting patiently and hoping that Justin Timberlake would take a break from acting and get back to the music. Now, almost 7 years later, the former *NSYNC member & Mouseketeer has finally released some ear candy.
I have to admit that all this “suit and tie” talk made me very curious about what JT had in store for his fans. Is he going to take us to the next level after FutureSex? Now that he’s married man, is he going to start making that grown and sexy music?
After his 10-piece big band performance at the Grammy Awards, JT and the Tennessee Kids give us a new compilation that shows the world what he’s been working on all this time and yes he has answered a few of my questions..
Starting from the top, JT smooths it out with his feel-good track, “Pusher Love Girl.” You hear a choir of strings singing over a chill bassline before the first verse starts. It’s safe to say that the highlight of this song is the infectious chorus. You repeatedly hear “Pusher love, Be my drug, Hook me up” in a pleasant harmony that makes you want to scream, “Yes, lawd!” And this is because the sound of the track strikes a chord with your spirit. The same can be said for the bridge as well. I don’t know if it’s the strings or the “churchy” organ or what. Either way this song earns a spot in the more favorable songs list.
As I waited for the next track to finally start, I had to remind myself about Justin’s signature reprises and/or two-part songs. After Justin gets all smooth for about 5 minutes, he then gets gritty and raps a couple bars for a good 3 minutes. I have to admit I got tired of listening to the entire song for more than 4 minutes, but continued listening because I didn’t want to miss anything hot or unexpected.
After his Jay-Z collaborated and Sly, Slick & Wicked’s “Sho’ Nuff” sampled single, “Suit & Tie,” JT hits us with an uptempo song for the clubs called “Don’t Hold the Wall.” In this track, music veteran Timbaland proceeds to make his presence more prominent. During the chorus you hear Timbaland echoing, “Don’t hold the wall” and adding other adlibs to his co-produced work of art.
“Strawberry Bubblegum,” however, brings the album’s focus back to the subject of love as he sings over the slightly electric pop song. This record makes you reminisce about the first time you saw that special someone or remember how you two were enamored by each other at the beginning of your relationship. It does make me wonder if there’s a link between the lyrics and his relationship with his wife, Jessica Biel. Either way, this song is pretty mellow, pleasant and the perfect feel-good record for the spring/summer. The harmony placements win me over and seem to be placed at all the right places of this song.
“Spaceship Coupe” and “Tunnel Vision” are also two jams made for the lovers in us all. But after that, I honestly grew bored, annoyed and confused by the rest of the compilation. Why? It felt like The 20/20 Experience was all over the place and JT was trying to compensate for all the time he’d been away, by cramming different styles of music in a 10-track album. I didn’t feel like there was a common or general theme (that I feel a lot of us were lead to believe). Most of all, from beginning to end, I waited for that big band sound to finally shine through and really bring the album to life. I thought The Tennessee Kids would be heard more, considering he adopted the whole classy “suit & tie” look.
In all honesty, this album sounded like a compilation of songs that didn’t make the cut on his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds. I really felt like I had been waiting for this great Christmas gift (for almost 7 years) and was given a pair of socks, a $25 gift card to Cracker & Barrel and a holiday card saying, ‘Happy Holidays!’ Come on, JT!
Maybe my expectations for The 20/20 Experience were too high. Maybe some of you might agree with me and maybe you won’t. Hopefully when JT finally drops the second part of this album later this year, he’ll use that opportunity to bring new music that has a more classic and timeless feel. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.