thu 21/10/2021

CD: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2

CD: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2

JT lets us listen to his B-sides, and they aren't half bad

JT: retro-futurist

Justin Timberlake continues his global charm assault with the second in his 20/20 Experience project. Teaming with long-term collaborator Timbaland, the duo turn the taut funk and chart-busting hits of the first instalment in the series on their head.

Where The 20/20 Experience was in turns sensual and muted, The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 is more in the vein of the more familiar futuristic synth-led sound that created Timbaland’s name in the Nineties, producing for artists such as Aaliyah and Missy Elliot.   

No one has shaped and directed Timberlake’s sound more than Timbo (Pharrell, of the Neptunes comes close) and the natural dynamic between the two is the real attraction here, infusing tracks such as lead single "Take Back the Night" with a fantastic retro-futurist disco vibe that once again suggests that Timbaland is the Quincy Jones to Timberlake’s Michael Jackson. This is a comparison that Justin is always going to find hard to shake off, and this project isn’t going to help his case.

Looking beyond the trite and mawkish R’n’B filler of "You Got It" and the cringe-worthy machismo of "Cabaret", featuring a phoned-in verse from rapper du jour DrakeThe 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 feels like more than a contrived cash-in but a fully realised project in itself, even in the knowledge that this is essentially the modern equivalent of a B-sides LP.

Timberlake shines when he plays to his strengths, waxing lyrical on his prowess with the fairer sex over futuristic pop and slinky R’n’B. Thus tracks such as the alternately sensual and silly "True Blood" will likely thrill fans that enjoyed the slightly creepy JT of the early 2000s. The smooth as silk R’n’B of "Amnesia" coexists alongside the abstract international vibes that Timbaland utilises in the Bollywood-inspired "Murder" featuring cultural behemoth Jay-Z and in the somewhat baffling dub coda on the rootsy "Drink You Away". Take this album for what it is and you will enjoy yourself, if you think too much about it you won’t.

It feels like more than a contrived cash-in but a fully realised project in itself

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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