When Justin Timberlake announced earlier this year he would be making a return to music everyone couldn't wait to see what he would. Needless to say it was a success. Then he revealed he would be doing it again this year and people weren’t sure how to feel. We all wanted new music from Justin eventually but did we really need it so soon? The answer seems to be no, we did not. With this album Timberlake recreated his sophomore album, which didn't go over well with most fans. There are some good songs here, but forgettable tracks, absurd lyrics, and songs that are way too long keep this from being a good album.
The album starts off pretty strong with a number of catchy songs. The opening track “Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)” has a cool sleek r&b and funk infused sound that gets you moving. With Justin singing “Take me to your jungle/I'm not afraid” it'll easily get stuck in your head. The animal motif is kind of weird, but otherwise fits in well that is until we hit the four minute mark. For some reason Justin didn't learn his lesson about lengthy songs from the previous release. This is where the track should've ended, but instead listeners are greeted with various animal noises and a weird warbled spoken word part that's not only distracting, but makes the entire thing cheesy .
The next track “True Blood” is kind of one of those so bad it's good songs because it's pretty corny. The music here is great and fun to dance to. It's a great mix of r&b, funk, and electronic music that's hard to deny, but it's the content of the song that makes it questionable. If you couldn't guess from the title this is about a hot vampire. It's not the most terrible thing he could do, but it really dates the song. Again, the length is too long clocking in at almost ten minutes during which he makes it clear that this is supposed to be his “Thriller” track. There are random wolf howls, “spooky” noises, and a pseudo creepy laugh in the same vein as the famous Michael Jackson song. This isn't the only place where Timberlake happily borrows from the King of Pop.
We all know Justin loves Michael Jackson and for “Take Back the Night” he admitted it was influenced by the late singer. I think what he meant to say was he ripped it off from Jackson. Don't get me wrong it's a great song, probably the best on the record because it's the classic fun, danceable Timberlake we know and love, but you can't deny that this sounds like something Jackson recorded in the 1970's. With the overall funk sound and big horns that come in, it sounds like something you would find on Off the Wall; it has the vintage 70's disco sound that's meant to get you on the dance floor. This isn't where Jackson's influences end. During the bridge with the horns Justin says “Take it over, yeah.” Sound familiar? It should because Jackson exclaimed it during “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground).” Nice try, Justin. Either way it's a fun song and one that shows he knows how to create great pop songs.
While there are quite a few catchy songs here most of them are not memorable. “Cabaret” has a great vibe, but has ridiculous lyrics that compare sex to a show. I'm also sure there's one part where he compares his lady friend to stripper: “She wanna break it down for me like she tryna get some paper.” TKO” starts off odd with Timbaland saying “Kill me with the coo-coochie-coochie-coo," which just sounds nasty. Also, the music here is so loud and booming it sounds like one of those awful rap songs you hear vibrating cars that drive down your street and even though “Murder” is filled with hooks, the lyrics are confusing with music that sounds like it was stolen from Missy Elliot's “Get Your Freak On.” It's at this point you begin to wonder why the album isn't over yet. By the time you get to the faux sentimental “You Got it On” you don't care anymore. Everything sounds the same and the songs are so long that they're easy to tune out and forget. It's unclear what Justin's intention was with releasing two albums in the same year, but one thing is clear: this release is completely unnecessary.
You can get Justin's latest release "The 20/20 Experience- 2 of 2" now from his official website. And even though he already went on tour this summer with Jay-Z, Justin will be hitting the road again solo for another tour which kicks off in November. Chicagoans who missed him the first time around are in luck. He'll be doing two shows in Chicago at the United Center on February 16-17. Tickets are on sale now.