Album Review: The 20/20 Experience

★★★★☆

After a six-year hiatus during which he built up an acting career - with successful movies such as The Social Network and Bad Teacher - and worked with many top producers, Justin Timberlake has finally returned to music with his latest album, The 20/20 Experience. 

The album mixes a great diversity of genres and displays Timberlake’s talents as a singer, producer and songwriter. He has left his boy band, bubblegum sound behind, emerging with a new level of maturity.

Lead single “Suit & Tie,” released in January, features guest vocals from Jay-Z and became a huge success, bringing R&B back to the top of the traditionally pop-dominated charts.

“Pusher Love Girl” and “That Girl,” which give the album a very groovy and funky feel, also highlight his excellent control of the R&B genre.

While the album falls mainly under the categories of R&B and soul, certain songs also maintain the pop sensibilities we’ve come to expect from Timberlake, especially on the album’s second single “Mirrors” which has a similar musical structure to the singer’s 2002 single “Cry Me a River.”

While the album overall is a masterpiece, there are a few songs that disappoint. “Blue Ocean Floor,” the last track on the standard edition, showcases Timberlake’s amazing voice, but suffers from confusing production and cheesy lyrics.

“Strawberry Bubblegum,” the fourth track of the album, features some very beautiful lyrics, but unfortunately the song is produced with a lackluster flair.

The album itself is one of the best released this year and with the album shooting to number one on the Billboard 200, fans have agreed.

The diversity in the album combined with Timberlake’s fantastic songwriting and production skills makes it an instant classic. With part two of the album coming out at the end of the year, this looks to be yet another successful year for Timberlake.