Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

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"The 20/20 Experience" should have a bite as equal as its bark. It doesn't; but it's still damn good.

The hoopla surrounding the release of Justin Timberlake's lead single “Suit & Tie” off his third solo album The 20/20 Experience was massive. It was less of a release and more of an event. The video had its own trailer sponsored by Budweiser Platinum with the tagline “one platinum hit deserves another,” using liquor’s version of The Secret to prematurely predict the success of the record. Prior to that, Timberlake dropped a short visual of him walking into a studio, announcing the return from his seven-year hiatus. With bells and whistles that loud, The 20/20 Experience should have a bite as equal as its bark. It doesn’t; but it’s still damn good.

Timberlake opted to have longtime friend and collaborator Timbaland produce the entire album. JT had the best of his producers with his two previous works. With 2002’s Justified, he had the spacey sunshine-laced production from the Neptunes before it was replicated and slapped on unreleased Teyana Taylor albums. In 2006, Timberlake was arguably Timbaland’s first creative muse since the passing of Aaliyah, so FutureSexLoveSounds was the result of years of pent up beats from a production genius. There are glimpses of that historical chemistry between Timbo and Timber – “Tunnel Vision” being the best example – where Timbaland uses Justin’s voice as a flexible instrument to enhance his tech savvy soundscape. The album’s closer “Blue Ocean Floor” being another, reminiscent of an unplugged version of “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows.” The rest of the album is laden with mid-tempo catchy tunes that could all be successfully slid into any LiteFM station, with the exception of “Mirrors,” which sounds like a more pleasant version of the noxious breed of David Guetta-esque anthems that have infiltrated the airwaves as of late. The aforementioned “Suit & Tie” is jazzy and sexy, yet unshakeably like Robin Thicke, right down to the Jay-Z cameo (hear: “Meiple”). No one can finesse a set of scatty horns like Hov, but Timberlake tries his damnedest. The biggest success of The 20/20 Experience lies within Justin Timberlake being able to gracefully glide into Adult Contemporary Music without coming across as trite or cheesy. There is enough oomph for the youngins, yet a defined maturity that proves Timberlake’s overstanding of eventually aging out of the capricious sect of R&B.

That being said, the hype surrounding The 20/20 Experience will never live up to the actual product. Words like “incredible” and “classic” have been tossed around to describe the 10-track project following the streamed release of the album. It still doesn’t measure up to a week's worth of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon performances coupled with a self-indulgent (albeit hilarious) 5th time hosting SNL. That’s not to say 20/20 isn’t good; it will just never be as good as the marketing plan surrounding it. Should JT wait another seven years to release an album (then it will really be a “2020” experience), he can roll out the same red carpet for himself and probably yield the same reaction from fans. However, if the rumors are true and this is merely a Part One of what's to come in 2013, then JT's obstacle will be creating high grade music that doesn’t have a parade behind it.


  • Anonymous

    This is not hip hop! Not hating on Justin but he is called Prince of Pop

  • CrackBastard

    Justin Timberlake?...Hip Hop DX eh?

  • pop

    it's a fuckin pop album. it's wack, but at least i can hope a review on Britney's stuff on hiphop(?)dx

  • Aim80

    Whoops, my bad! I meant to logon to HIP-HOP DX... apparently I've stumbled into POP DX. My apologies... I'll take my 4 elements and be leaving now.

  • StephenGreater

    Timbo's beats haven't really evolved over time.....

  • Mkast

    Not classic but excellently delivered vocals and beats have it skimming that boundary

  • awesome

    Either way still a great album So good to hear non auto-tuned, live band instrumental and dope vocals.. Classic


    album sucks!!!

  • na

    gt it love it its the shit jt got his shit together

  • Pegasus Flow

    This album is tough. If you're shitting on it, you're probably just mad and hate on JT in general . FOH with that shit you clowns.

  • Tj

    The more you hear it the better it gets

  • pie

    I'm here because site is named hiphopdx. Well, this album is not good, and not hip hop. After hearing i can give 3 max.

  • laceup

    why is this on a hip hop site?

  • Anonymous

    took a few listens to like it but that was because i went in expecting another futuresexlovesound my fav song wud have to be that girl which is the song that is the most conventional which is a nice break wudnt go any higher than a 4 still tho looking frward to the Ces Cru review that shit is banging lol

  • Andrew Reardon

    *Bud Light Platinum


    Yo, I haven't heard this yet, but I heard from a few legit sources that the album isn't that great. C'mon Timbaland! Damn! How you gonna make some wack shit?? Justin shoulda had The Neptunes produce again!

    • Anonymous

      @realtalk, your talk wasn't real at all.....lmao - reread your comment, and repost your "opinion". sidenote: america is really in trouble READING IS FUNDAMENTAL lol

    • Wut?

      "Yo, I haven't heard this yet, but I heard from a few legit sources that the album isn't that great." The rest of your comment is invalid.

  • Anonymous

    funny how the whole world loves JT now. JT got his start as a boy band faggot. he was getting molested as a kid in the music industry making puppet boy band trash. then he links up with timbaland and starts making michael jackson rip offs and the world falls in love all over again. the hype and marketing for this is incredible. they got a cash cow in this pale wigger fuck. i remember when he had corn rows with frosted tips. bye bye bye. shit actor, shit musician. of course he's popular.

    • TellDemGalMiBottiBigLikeSmartCar

      Great assessment. Dude is a shit singer! He has absolutely zero range!It doesn't take much to please the masses.

    • Anonymous

      i do agree, nothing about jt should be on this site. i also think, none of the fuckery (fights, death, sex)on worldstar "hip hop" should be there either. this country done went to hell smfh

    • Anonymous

      a lot of artists have "legit talent" but they dont get any shine on hiphopdx.com whats so special about this white boy?

    • Anonymous

      You sound jealous.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe because he has legit talent? Not a JT fan, but I'm just saying.

    • Anonymous

      i dont get it either. why is everything he does all over this hip-hop website??

  • Anonymous

    bitches love this shit

  • fuck hhdx

    they review JT, but didnt put a review up for DMX's last album

  • Anonymous

    Justin Timberlake is someone Bieber wishes he could be but doesn't have half the talent JT has.

  • Freddie Mockery

    He made me actually dig somebody singing "zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom" so it has to be good for that accomplishment. 4/5.

  • MartyFunkhouser

    Suit & Tie along with Let the Groove Get In are the worst songs imo. Strawberry Bubblegum, Dont Hold The Wall, Pusher Love Girl & Spaceship Coupe are the highpoints. The rest are ok (Mirrors isnt as bad as some say) & Blue Ocean Floor takes a few tolerant listens to like it. Good album, made him top of the music world again and hopefully will change the landscape from these Guetta-influenced radio rotations.

  • Anonymous

    Great albumtop to bottom. JT & Timberland collab perfectly on this one like the other albums. 5/5 flawlessly

  • Erik

    Here's the thing, this is a good album. Listen through it all trough once or twice before delivering the final judgment.

  • Anonymous

    Timb made this thang a classic

  • demigod

    very good non hip hop album i liked it

  • vince

    20/20 doesnt beg or demand to be liked... It sounds like being happy in love, with nowhere to go an nothing to do

  • lennyblanconj

    please listen and review http://www.datpiff.com/LENNY-BLANCO-Man-Of-My-Word-mixtape.465879.html

  • lennyblanconj


  • richu reji

    Amazing Songs In LOVE with MIRRORS

  • Durbey E. Macon

    I had a chance to listen to the album while I was cleaning the store (Music & More by Williams 52 South Philly Street York, Pa 17401 717-843-7071) today. The cd was very refreshing. No autotune, dj/producer shout outs or recycled beats.

    • UMMM

      UM did you really think DJ DRAMA or DJ SCREAMS would be on a Justin Timberlake studio album??????? recycled beats??? LMAO

  • oOJayRockOo

    Wow this album is fire, Can chris brown ,usher, trey songs any top r&b artist out today compete with this album answer is HELL NO ...HAHAHA

  • The Honest Truth

    Sounds like the reviewer had nothing bad to say about the actual music but simply spend the majority of the article knocking Justin for having a great marketing team. I thought it was a great album vocally and sonically. Favorite tracks: Pusha Love Girl, Don't Hold The Wall, Tunnel Vision, Spaceship Coupe, and That Girl.

  • Starmani

    I gotta admit it, JT is reclaiming the Male Pop throne with this one....its an excellent album but not perfect. 4/5 for me. Timbaland's production is great

  • Someone

    Who thought you to make some good music? JT: Timbaland thought me" I thought you sucked, but for a white boy u aight, who tought you to be aight? JT: Timbaland reaposted my pussy" Timbaland thought you well, Timbaland thought you well.... (Verse from Blame Game, Chris Rock, Kanye)

  • Anonymous

    This album is dope

  • asher1985

    Maybe I'm not musically inclined, but I thought this album sucked.

    • Father

      I honestly don't get the hype, I really liked justified & FSLS as pop albums, but this album is boring af f*ck and sounds like it's made in 2006

  • N2DaMusic

    Timbaland did a good job on this one. Now wait till november for the part 2 of 20/20! again 10 songs featuring Jay and TI! JT, Missy, Keri, Shock Value 3 and again JT. This will be Tim's year!!!!!!! Timbo The King!!

  • RobertTheGreat

    His best years are easily behind him, he will never top the Mickey Mouse Club years no matter what he does.

  • lawrence

    i like most of the songs on this album

  • ray

    Album is SUPER nice... I gotta give credit to this kid he just continues to make these monster hits... Tunnel Vision.... sheesh... JT got bars

  • johnson

    Classic shit! Best Songs: Mirrors, Strawberry Bubblegum, Tunel Vision, Don't Hold The Wall, SpaceShip Coupe

  • Anonymous

    Still love Justified more than anything else. This album is great though

  • annonymous

    why the fuck are you reviewing a justin timberlake album. I think the album is great but this is a hip hop website no? just cause he is produced by tim and has a song with jay he gets reviewed on a hip hop website? doesn't make sense

    • UMMM

      UMMM, it must be all of yalls first time on DX. WHO GIVES A FUCK WHAT GENRE IS IT LOL @cinavenom if their are so many albums to review why dont you post about it on you're twitter so all of you're 10 followers can see it.

    • cinavenom

      @RealTalk he made a good point here, this is an R&B/Pop album not a hip hop album so why is it being reviewed on a hip hop site? I don't see anything about hate anywhere in what he said, just a real valid point. They could have reviewed a hip hop album instead of this, there are plenty out there to review.

    • RealTalk

      Sure...because leaving a comment that is nothing but hate makes so much more sense...fuggin customer.

  • Anonymous

    Super dope album. What a transformation. Can't hate on JT now if you try.

  • yep

    Timbo & Timberlake are great together Dope album

  • guardian

    There was a time when US R&B was one of the most sonically adventurous genres going. It seems a stretch to believe it now, with committee-written club formulae dominating the pop charts there, here and everywhere, but on the cusp of the millennium the low-oxygen altitudes of the charts boasted backwards choruses, trumpeting elephants and samples of Indian devotional music. People even danced to them. The man who unleashed many of these inventions, hip-hop producer Tim "Timbaland" Mosley, set his menagerie of sounds to play most freely on Missy Elliott records. But Timbaland's busy, nimble touch (and his "fricky fricky" ad-libs) also graced landmark hits by Jay-Z, Aaliyah and Justin Timberlake. Famously, Timberlake went from boy-band foot soldier to mature pop star with 2002's Justified, a record of on-point Michael Jackson tributes he made predominantly with the Neptunes. But there was also Cry Me a River, the dramatic single produced by Mosley, which sealed both Timberlake's bankability and his cred. Even though Timbaland had a big hand in Timberlake's last outing, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), The 20/20 Experience is wall-to-wall Tim-on-Tim. It is, very often, terrific lush and quirky too. This comes as some surprise, because while Timberlake has been busy on screen, Mosley has spent the 00s making dreadful showreel compilations to lure rock bands into his ambit. By now everyone ought to be familiar with Mirrors, the most craven outing from this orchestral funk opus, which has already enjoyed two weeks at No 1. There are at least four tracks better than Mirrors here. There will be more, because The 20/20 Experience repays replays. As immediate as it is a keeper, Don't Hold the Wall grabs from the near east and the southern hemisphere; crickets chirp in the background, and a sped-up helium sample quacks like it's 1999. Unlike most of the songs on 20/20 the goofy, loved-up musings of a happily married man, mostly Don't Hold the Wall finds a breathy Timberlake prowling the club, whispering salacious nothings to a resistant girl. "Well, how'd you like it?" asks one sample. "You shouldn't have to ask me that question," answers another. No matter what you might want to do to Timberlake mother him? you want to give Timbaland a bear hug. Even more sassy is Let the Groove Get In a salsa-driven earworm with a chanted chorus whose arrangements are sublime. On these long songs, Timbaland seems to have relocated his mojo and added Kanye-calibre ambition. Synth strings scythe away on Tunnel Vision, and Walt Disney meets Quincy Jones on Pusher Love Girl. The latter track even rivals Spiritualized for dovetailing affection with addiction. Timberlake's half-rapped list of intoxicants is rather tempting: from plum wine to nicotine via "hydroponic candy jelly beans". Most loved-up of all is That Girl, a southern soul track in which old-time brass rubs up against digital clicks. Timberlake has come far repurposing Michael Jackson. But often 20/20 finds him and Tim on a big fat Prince jag. There are tracks here called things such as Spaceship Coupe and Strawberry Bubblegum, whose surface silliness deepens to a feeling of respect a few plays in, when the penny drops, and everything especially Suit & Tie, 20/20's teaser track suddenly makes sense. With songs averaging around the seven-minute mark, this Timberlake record may not boast as many rocket-propelled singles as before. But it finds the two Tims going back to the future without so much as a sideways glance at the rave-pop fashion.

  • Mu

    The rating is about right, but this review was not well-written. I agree with A.E. down below... If this review spent more time discussing the actual music than it would've given a better impression of the album. I've heard it several times, and it is AMAZING. This review does NOT do it justice. JT's job (and his label's job) was to get as much hype as possible going for this release, and they it seems like they were pretty successful. How big the album's promotion is doesn't matter, what matters is JT and Timbo created a damn good album that is equal parts R&B, Soul, Pop, Dance, and Electronic music, and you know Timbo helped give the beats that Hip-Hop bounce. 4/5

    • Mu

      Simply put, the best reviews are done with an objective focus on the MUSIC, not on unnecessary commentary about the roll-out of the album and expectations. You gave it a 4/5, so you should have explained why you thought it was dope enough to earn that rating.

    • Mu

      Kathy, the middle part of the album was filler? Lol, I don't know what album you were listening to. Do you think vaguely mentioning 5 tracks on an album where most songs are over 6 minutes is a review? There's nothing about the different styles featured on the album or how there are several twists and turns with the beat changes. Your review is based around the simple concept that the promotion of the album led you to have unusually higher expectations for it. Did you consider the fact that JT is one of the biggest names in entertainment with 2 previous critically acclaimed albums?? the last of which came out SEVEN years ago? That seems like reason enough for a big marketing push, no?

    • Kathy Iandoli

      Actually, out of 10 songs, I discussed half of them. Would you prefer I had gone track by track? The entire middle part of the album was filler. Had I went track by track of filler, I'd have been crucified for spending too much time on dissecting songs that didn't matter. This album was 10 songs with a marketing plan that acted like it was a four disc box set. And yes I chose to focus on it not living up to its hype, but the content reflects that disappointment. Sorry you and A.E. do not agree.

  • A.E.

    This review spends far too much time talking about the album not living up to the hype, rather than speaking on the tracks within the c.d. Review the content, not the hype...

  • JW

    Just gave it a listen from start to finish and I have nothing bad to say. This is a solid album. 5/5

  • Anonymous

    5 stars nuff said!

  • Julio

    This is what grown-up albums sound like.

  • So Icy Boi aka Yung Boi!

    Lil Wayne and Drake sold mo album den Justin Timberlake (jew and Jay-Y's gay partner). diz album iz gay as fuck. diz aint hip hop. I AM NOT A HUMAN BEING II will be a real hip hop album. swag

  • Anonymous

    what has this to do with hiphop ? Because there is a track with Jay and timbo is the producer.

  • 777

    DX confirmed for WOAT reviewer. Anything less than a 5/5 is too low.

  • foreal

    Cant wait for this album, his first 2 were good. I have mixed feelings about Timbaland doing the whole album... on 1 hand Timbaland is the great with JT but i also like the neptunes/JT combo. will definatly cop

  • Jeremy

    His 2006 album will never be topped (to me)... but I'ma buy this shit. If you would have told me 10 years ago I'd be a fan, I would have cock-slapped you.

    • Paul Anaconda

      Agree... Ten Years Ago I Would Have Flipped My Shit If I Knew I'd Respect Him As An Artist Let Alone Buy The Records.

  • chris

    listened on itunes 2 times already. album is amazing, he kept up his style of 2 for 1, but only one song title for each this time. an album for everyone i think. Pre-order this shit

  • Anonymous


  • DOShow

    This album is definitely a 5 and has some amazing tunes.

  • B

    I love when my fav artist grow with me over time. His first album came out when I was a senior in high school and through the 3 albums you can def hear the growth and maturity...this aint a pop album