I feel like I have been writing a preface to these things far too much lately but I really feel like this one is needed. So before I write my three thoughts on the 20/20 Experience I must tell you that I love Justin Timberlake and have loved him for YEARS. Seriously people like since I was 13! I even enjoyed his foray into acting because (as someone stated) for what he is Justin is a decent actor. At the very least he tries to be good and he has greatly evolved and I honestly think that is the most we can expect from him. Now I say all of that to let you know I am a long time true fan because I don’t want people thinking what I’m about to write comes from any dislike of Justin. I like the guy, but 20/20 sucked ass and here are my three reasons why:
1. Wake me up when it’s over.
I’ve listened to JT for years and I have always been able to enjoy his albums completely, but 20/20 is not like that. My biggest complaint is that it plays like one long song and there is very little differentiation between the individual tracks. One of the best things about JT is his ability to create an album with a great mix of booty shakers and ballads. I can’t pick one song that struck me as standing out more than the others and to be honest I couldn’t tell you which song is which.
The biggest offense is that the album is actually middle of the road. 20/20 is actually not really bad (it’s pretty listenable) but it’s not really good either. I can listen to it (I am right now) but I don’t want to buy it and if I wasn’t writing this I doubt I would ever reach for it. The album is standard, bland, and lets face it pretty boring. I think a lesser artist could have put this out and it would be passable, but Justin Timberlake the man who’s sophomore album broke out with this shit…
We expect more from him especially after 7 years. Not to say this effort was lazy, I genuinely think he worked hard on it but he missed the mark. Maybe he lost his touch after that crazy long break….
2. Would the real Justin please stand up.
I don’t envy musicians job because what they do is complicated. They are expected to both be true to themselves and evolve as artists, be both classic and trendsetting, and appeal to an ever-changing audience. There are a lot of places where artists can fail which is most likely why almost all of them do at some point. Up until this point Justin has been a master at not failing. With his first solo outing he brought the pop of his boy band days mixed with some new sounds and he succeeded in creating his own sound. Then in Futuresex/Lovesounds he broke the mold and tried something new, but managed to keep his unique Justin like touch throughout the album.
In 20/20 Experience I feel like he’s trying to do the old school thing like D’Angelo, Bruno Mars, and Adele with his special touch, but he gets kind of lost in there. I know what to expect from Justin and I know that he likes to change it up so I expect some surprises in there too. When I listen to 20/20 I can’t help but wonder where the Justin I’ve grown to know and love disappeared to. It plays like something written for several other artists that they compiled and passed along to Justin to make work. He’s a talented guy, but not enough to make this set of songs work.
3. I know where we are going, but we never quite make it there.
I get the feeling Justin is attempting to make a complete album with a very specific kind of cool old school meets new school vibe. It’s supposed to be smooth and chill and in a way it is, but more so in the way that it makes good background music rather than something you are actively listening to. You won’t really want to sing along but you don’t mind it playing.
I would describe 20/20 this way, it feels like Justin took you on a date and told you all of the awesome things you were going to do that night. Then you go on the date and you keep waiting to do some of the stuff he told you about, but nothing happens and at the end of the night he’s laying there thinking he just blew your mind and you are left unsatisfied and pretty much wondering what the hell just happened.
You want it to be amazing, but it falls short.
And that people are my thoughts on the 20/20 experience. You should definitely head to ITunes where it’s steaming for a limited time and check it out for yourself.