By: Lucy Pruitt | Staff Reporter
After having dominated the late 90’s and early 2000’s with his band N’ Sync then progressing to a very successful solo career, Justin Timberlake released yet another solo album. The 20/20 Experience was released on March 15, 2013, and debuted as number one on the U.S. Billboard Top 200.
“Suit and Tie,” the radio hit single of the album so far, peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and within the top five in several countries worldwide. Though many fans and critics have given this album high praise, I have found The 20/20 Experience to be far from stellar. The occasional song that runs seven or eight minutes long is great, but the entire album consisting of songs that are averaging seven minutes is pushing the limit.
At times while listening to the album, I got the feeling that the main goal of The 20/20 Experience was to exceed normal song length. Quickly after the expected time allotment for the song elapses, it feels as if the key changes, vamps, and bridges were randomly placed in the songs just for the purpose of creating unnecessarily lengthy music. The songs will fade out in the middle, giving you the impression that it will end only to leave you disappointed in the realization that you are barely halfway through. I find myself feeling a sense of accomplishment when I listen to an entire song in one sitting.
The intros to many of the songs are very creative, and though they are oddly irrelevant and completely different in style, they started to grow on me as I became more familiar with the music. In the first song on the album “Pusher Love Girl,” the intro sounds very theatrical and would fit somewhere in a Walt Disney movie turned 1950’s Broadway production, unlike the song which is about drugs, drug pushers, and addictions.
Despite their repetition, the choruses are catchy and fun. The album was classified as “Neo Soul,” consisting of styles ranging from jazz, funk, and hip hop to pop, fusion, and African music. All of these styles are very clearly portrayed in songs such as “Don’t Hold the Wall” and “Mirrors.”
I can’t help but compliment Justin Timberlake’s voice and technique when he sings. Most of the album is sung in his trademark falsetto that does not sound strained or forced. Because of his constant high voice, the change to his natural, deeper tone sounds rich and full in comparison. Though, I was disappointed in the length and content of The 20/20 Experience, I have to say that I was generally pleased with the album.