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

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Instead of letting this "experience" marinate, Justin Timberlake made "The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2" a continuation to an album that didn't need a sequel.

Even the most talented artists don’t always know when to leave well enough alone. So when they don’t, they usually make the ill-fated mistake of over-extending their art, which proves to be unnecessary and at times, a hasty blunder. And unfortunately, that summarizes Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2.

After a seven-year hiatus focusing on his acting career and business ventures with a few musical guest appearances, JT made a dynamic return to his roots by releasing the illustrious first half to The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience; an elegantly decorated album that is a seamless blend of his previous projects: Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds with just enough newness showing his growth and creative triumph. We saw the “prince of pop” experiment even more expanding his already growing sound by merging a generous amount of genres creating a multi-dimensional work that was a kick in the door comeback alerting the Justin Biebers of the world who the crown rightfully belonged to. But instead of letting this “experience” marinate, he over-extended the invitation.

The 20/20 Experience (part deux) is a collection of 11 leftovers and outtakes from Timberlake’s recording session with a few newbies blended in. The production crew remains the same; Timberlake himself, J-Roc and Justin’s most prominent conductor Timbaland. “TJT” produced each track collectively with the exception of two with additional production credits from Daniel Jones. Since it was the same crew, you can hear the uniformity that allows the album to flow quite well, structurally creating a cohesive blend of thunderous songs. And with only two guest appearances: Drake and Jay Z, it’s more Justin in all of his grandiose bravado though he might have given us too much JT.

“Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)” with it’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” like introduction leads the album and sets the tone for the loud, atmospheric tracks to come. The lead single, “Take Back The Night” (which need been titled different considering it shares a moniker with an anti-rape organization) has Timberlake hitting the town to party with an attractive woman reminiscent of the “Rock With You” Michael Jackson era. It’s unnecessarily long but has a decent amount of soul with a hint of disco and flamboyant horns, which will do exactly what it was intended to; get people moving. “Cabaret” sounds like 2013’s answer to “My Love,” and “Murder” featuring Jay Z has Justin up against an intensely gorgeous woman whose sex is lethal. It would’ve worked better as Jay’s track featuring Justin in terms of rhythmic structure, as Mr. Carter spits a semi-decent verse about the power of Yoko Ono; a clever comparison but forcefully eccentric. Other tracks sound misplaced in comparison to the rest but are the best the album has to offer.

Vocally, Justin sounds just as good as he did seven years ago: maybe even better. His striking falsetto is still crisp, his runs curve around the melodic chords like a California bend and the soulfulness that placed him ahead of his group mates is present on each track. He sticks with a lot of the same subjects: love, relationships, clubbing and having a good time. Nothing too heavy, but he doesn’t revitalize his lyrical offerings by taking a different approach or flipping the script and giving us something unexpected. On the boards, the songs are extremely coated—filled with throbbing bass, pulsating rhythms and dramatic flair—with a few incredible guitar riffs and acoustics alongside the ambiguous reverberation that only Timbaland can bring. They do blend well but are at times predictable and more parallel to a run on sentence than they should be. 

The key to making a compilation album in two parts is for all the tracks to play a key role in the overall theme and to remove any filler, especially if it is a lengthy project such as this one clocking in at 21 tracks in total. And even if the songs are leftovers, they shouldn’t sound like it. Had these 11 tracks been presented like they were B-sides or rarities, it may not have been as detrimental but they were offered up as a continuation to an album that didn’t need a part two in the first place. Justin should’ve also mixed up the production by adding in some Neptunes, Nate “Danja” Hills or Scott Storch; producers he’s worked well with in the past to give it a refreshing reset because these tracks sound formulaic in a bad way, run way too long and don’t offer anything distinctive to the “experience.” These are also situational songs that don’t have a lot of universal replay value, but they will fill JT’s fans up with enough material to forgive him for the gap he left in the music world for the last seven years. And in the end, it’s obvious Justin had quite a bit to say but sometimes, some things are just better left unsaid.

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76 Comments

  • Isaac

    Amazing album, one of the best of 2013

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  • ordinaryYEEZUS

    Justin Timberlake is a great singer, these 20/20 experience's albums are very good too, in spite of I don't think was necessarily make a sequel to the first 20/20 experience.

  • 777

    Pt. 1 >>>>>>>>>. 4/5 for JT's voice.

  • sd

    JT is a gifted singer. 20/20 experience is epic and quality music. 4.5/5 0.5 missing cause futuresex/lovesounds had more of these "banger" hits like "my love"

  • knowshon moreno

    DX fronted on this, but gobbled Jay Z and Yeezus balls. Hahahaha.

  • jstamir

    jeez Timabaland can't rest

    • Z

      That's what I was thinkin... plus he's still awesome whereas Swizz is not as good as he used to be... (no disrespect to Kaseem)

  • Mohit Kanyal

    Best album of 2013 - The Complete 20/20 Experience......

  • Lubricated Cock Ring

    bitches are gonna bitch! just listen and like his shit, not criticize his work....dumbass people man i swear....

  • Jason

    I like the concept of long running tracks connecting to others in one continuous mix though. No song here is under 5 minutes in length which is a rare treat indeed. The horns in take back the night make for a really funky jazzy track. Whiteboy wise I feel he is closer to that Thriller sound then anyone has ever gotten. I think volume 1 is a tad stronger but this one is not crap either.

  • Magombo

    hhdx should stick to hip hop music, eish!!this is very embarassing review, hip hop site reviewing pop music and became terrable at it? i'm hip hop fan but i also listean to pop music and when i do so my pespective is diffirent, part 2 is better than part 1

  • Confused Reader

    I like this review. My exact thoughts. I'll stick with first experience and stream the other, maybe...

  • THE REAL YEBO

    I LIKE JT BUT THIS ALBUM IS STRAIGHT TRASH, ONLY DRAKE'S FEATURE SAVED THE WHOLE PROJECT. WHERE THE FUCK IS AN ANOTHER HIT SINGLE LIKE MIRRORS? CRY ME A RIVER? SENORITA? MY LOVE? THAT SONG WITH JUICY J AND DJ PAUL? IT'S TOO GENERIC AND SOUNDS LIKE THE ONE LONG SONG, THE ONLY NAMES OF SONGS I REMEMBERED ARE THAT ONES WITH FEATURES.

  • Anonymous

    Y'all nigas are stupid

  • Kizman

    why the fuck are hhdx reviewing this?

  • brian

    The complete experience is going down as a classic...

  • MelSmits

    How are you going to suggest that these other producers would add anything refreshing? Let JT cook. I do agree that he should throw Pharrell/The Neptunes into the mix. Storch? Danja? They've only co-produced JT songs with Timbo. JT doesn't have that kind of chemistry with them and neither Storch or Danja have held down an entire album of this caliber recently.

  • Anonymous

    Whatever, I love both albums, hope JT continues to make music

  • Chris Etrata

    "Territic u have made one of the dumbest post I've ever read on here. Congrats, with So Icy and dentaldamnboy among others that's quite an accomplishment" That is probably dentaldambitch right there.

  • Nice!

    Great part 2 to an awesome 20/20 Experience.

  • Marx1684

    I don't usually comment much on the reviews but this one was poor. How about trying a panel of reviewers to break it down from different perspectives? One review will never hit the people the right way. I was hit the wrong way. With songs like, "Drink You Away" that have Justin sounding more comfortable than ever while on a totally different sounding track it's hard to believe this doesn't stand up to his past effort. The song with Drake on it had me wondering why this pairing had not been attempted before. They sound better on a track together than Justin & Jay. I'm fine w/Timbo producing Justin's records. I miss the days of one strong producer giving you that consistent sound throughout the whole project. As a reader & w/o insult, I strongly disagree with this review.

  • Big Bad Barrio 18 Gang, E'zup!

    HIPHOP(POP)DX, suck a dick! Timberlake ain't hip-hop you clown ass pussies and to be honest wit u, most of the artists on your website ain't hip-hop. Most so called rappers nowadays are hip-POP artists. You should know that by now. It ain't hip-hop no more, the new genre is hip-POP! Change your domain to HIPPOPDX.COM and that way you won't be misleading people.

  • Mood

    couldn't disagree more. As much as i liked the first cd which was maybe a little bit less accessible, more daring, this new shit is excellent, and definitely more catchy, in a good way. Oh yeah, and Timbo is on fire once again.

  • wrgvwr

    why the fuck r u guys reviewing this. I thought this site was dedicated to HIP HOP not POP

  • Anonymous

    he is this not the fake michael jackson? singing and dances all stole from micheal

  • Anonymous

    I feel the exact opposite of this review. I feel as if the first album was a 2/5 and this one a 4.5/5.

  • Anonymous

    Much better than the first album, no contest.

  • Anonymous

    haters, 4/5 better than last album

  • YouDon'tEvenKnowit

    This album is better then the first IMO. Sick beats and a faster pace.

  • dentaldamboy

    Way too generous. It's a 1/5 for me. The only reason why it isn't a zero is because of Drake's verse.

  • GarvinIII71

    3 out of 5 isn't a poor review? What is wrong with some of you folks?

  • tresdemayo

    Stop hating on DX, this album is average like was the 1 of 2. And quit the racial argument, I'm white and unimpressed by JT's comeback. This is outdated R&B with some weak ass production.

  • OUCH!

    4 Stars, F this review.

  • HHH, that's me

    Another example of a black reviewer trashing a white release, just as common as a jewish reviewer giving Drake albums a higher score than what people in general feel is the right score. Call this "racist" just because Im being racially conscious; aknowledging races and certain correlations between race and bias is not RACISM per se, it's just being real..

    • Arasia Graham

      Thank you for your comments/views. I am actually a Caucasian male.

    • Anonymous

      STFU> I bet the reviewer was white. One thing about you whites is you are so racist and think other people are.

    • HHH, that's me

      The album is straight piff but still the reviewer complains about it being.... a sequel...? What? How about comenting on the work of art AS ITS OWN instead of focusing on the damn name? OB4CL 2 is good AS ITS OWN ALBUM even though it's a sequel to a great album. Self Made 2 and 3 suck, irrespective of the first Self Made album.. Who cares what the name of the album is? Judge the album on its own instead of saying "he makes a sequel to an album that doesn't need a sequel" like, are you high? This isn't a damn movie where the sequel is a continuation of the first movie, it's a MUSICAL ALBUM that stands in and on its own, so JUDGE IT LIKE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE JUDGED. But being that a black reviewer gives this too low of a score just further shows the anti-white drivel that black reviewers hold on to, the reiewer had to grasp at invisible straws to be able to shit out a 3/5 on this one.. Just as reviewers had to grasp at unexisting straws to give that sub-par NWTS album anything over a 3/5...

    • GarvinIII71

      You just went full dummy with that one.

    • JRich

      Thanks for the input Adolf

    • Anonymous

      Please enlighten me with your superior knowledge

  • Yeahh..no

    This review is foolish and I haven't even heard the album yet. The bulk of criticism comes from the albums title or song titles, or the fact that it's just as good as the first. Get new reviewers please

    • WEK3

      Only one sentence speaks about titles. What are you saying, lol. The general sentiment of the review is that it doesn't offer anything substantial to make it worthwhile; when albums and films have concrete sequels like this, they're going to be held to the standard of the predecessor. That approach to the review is fine. If you disagreed with the evaluation of the album, that'd make sense. But you also haven't heard the album, so...

  • Anonymous

    this is not hip hop dx retards

  • DX keeps losing

    What has this to do with hiphop? Because some whitey is working with black rappers/producers? DX keeps losing

    • DX keeps losing

      this has nothing to do with hate or racist shit you dumbasses. This is a hiphop site not an rnb site. Get it?

    • Anonymous

      Whitey? Really man? How would you like it if white people called us blackies? You're probably the same person who gets super offended if someone says something derogatory in an fashion to you. You my friend are very ignorant...

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    Actually this album is really dope. I don't know what the 3 stars by DX is all about and the album is better than part 1. 4 Stars

  • Mpho

    I Agree, this album is plain Garbage! i don't know why he had to go and ruin things!

  • Territc

    This is the problem with people reviewing things. Their views are always subjective and I find it extremely annoying that we have to be subjected to someones second rate reviews. All reviews should have the disclaimer "My personal opinon and in no-way reflects the product I am reviewing". Case in point this particular review. In fact, review should be done a week after the album release date. These sort of horrible reviews deter people from buying the album. I am glad I didn't read your review before I bought the album as your review would have caused me not to buy the album. In my opinion this is a contender for Album of the Year. 2 of 2 is definetly better than 1 of 2, and 1 of 2 was also damn good. In future, place a disclaimer. You are lousy reviewere.

    • Territic

      That review isn't an opinion, that's just hate right there. Don't be mad just because I make more money than you.

    • natturner2k

      Territic u have made one of the dumbest post I've ever read on here. Congrats, with So Icy and dentaldamnboy among others that's quite an accomplishment. A review by definition will always be an opinion. No one subjects you to read any review of any product. It is a toolpeople use in order to evaluate if a certain product will be worth spending money on. U know what I've now read other responses to your comment and ur to damn dumb to have a discussion with. Best of luck on ur journey thru life. I have a feeling you'll need it...

    • WEK3

      The album just dropped today, but the stream has been available for a week. Just because you got the album today, that doesn't mean the reviewer got it today, too. That's what a lot of journalists do: they get early copies of albums, sit with them for a few days or a week, and write so that their reviews can coincide with the release date. And how is the writer bashing if the review actually praises the first 20/20 album and gives props to other songs?

    • Teritic

      Stop defending someone who doesn't even know you exsist.

    • Will

      I rarely comment here but... Territic: you follow up an attack on someone else for being stupid by writing "The album review can put people off from reviewing in album" hmmm... If your gonna back up your words do it with some credibility.

    • Territic

      That reviewer is wrong about everything. Also, they tend to hate on anyone who includes Drake on an album. In fact, he's a terrific singer and rapper. And yes, I've seen hiphopdx get paid to bash someone before.

    • shep

      You're the one being stupid everything the person your replying to is correct. How is someones review not obviously just their opinion? And your argument immediately became invalid the moment you say shit like did kanye pay him to bash it. FOH

    • Territic

      No. You stop being stupid. The album reviews CAN put people off from reviewing in album. Also, this review alone shows hate for JT's work. Did Kayne West pay him to bash JT or what? Stop hating bitch.

    • GarvinIII71

      You mean the review should be written the week after you and the rest of the public are able to purchase the album? Firstly, most critics receive an album before the release date, so... 1-2 weeks AFTER kind of defeats the purpose a publicity roll-out. Secondly, you're a bit of a tool if a review can put you off of buying a piece of work from an artist that you may be previously familiar with. Lastly, it seems to me that "in my (the reviewer) opinion", should be already inferred. Don't continue to be stupid, please.

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree with you on all points. The review should not come out until at least 1-2 weeks after the album has dropped. How can an album have a proper review after only a few days of listening? You got to really listen to an album in order to give it a proper critique.