Written by Tyler Lamb. Media by Miles Priester.
To start this review off, I am going to mention that there are themes in this album that may not be the best. Even though almost every song in history is somehow about sex, they don’t talk about it as blatantly as Justin Timberlake does in some of these songs. There is even a song called “Drink You Away,” which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess what that one is about. Also, there are a few songs with some explicit language. That being said, I’m going to be reviewing this album based on the quality of the content, and not whether or not I agree with the message of the individual songs.
Just earlier this year JT (no, not James Taylor) released his first studio album since 2006 entitled The 20/20 Experience. He had a couple of hits off of it, “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors,” but overall it wasn’t the album fans were wanting. Most of the songs lasted far too long and some were just strange. As a die hard Justin Timberlake fan since his NSYNC days, I can safely say I was not as pleased with it as I wanted to be. However, no one knew at the time it was supposed to be a two parter. Just recently the second part was released. Does it have the same flaws as the first part, or is it better? Well, yes.
It’s a statement to the first part that when I first looked at the track list, seeing the running times of each song, was relieved to see most were just a bit over 5minutes. Unfortunately, there were still a handful of songs that looked very intimidating clocking in from 7,9 and even 11 minutes. This has to be one of the biggest flaws of both these albums. The songs are necessarily bad, but there is an almost definite spot where you would expect them to end only to find out it still has 4 minutes to go. You shouldn’t have to find time out of your day to be able to sit down and listen to a single song by an artist, and it seems as though that is almost what Timberlake is trying to do.
Whereas I got a Justified vibe from some songs from part one, most of this album brings back the feel of Future Sex/Love Sounds with the kind of beats being used and even the sound Timberlake usually takes with his voice. Sometimes this is a bad thing, considering you’ll hear songs that seem to sound very similar to ones from that past album. Even though they sound similar, they are still catchy and can be fun to listen to. Songs like “Gimme What I Don’t Know” and “Cabaret” really borrow heavily from the sound previously used, but are both still pleasing to the ears.
When it comes to standout songs from the album, really almost every song under 6min makes the cut. The one that is the outright best, as you might have guessed, is the first single from the album “Take Back The Night.” There is just so much done right about this song, and like “Mirrors,” JT really shines in all aspects with the song. You’ll find yourself dancing uncontrollably to a good amount of the tracks on this one.
Overall, the tone of part two seems a lot brighter in aspects than the first part. Whereas we were given a lot more slower and mellowed out tracks with part one, there are a lot more upbeat and party tracks on the second part. However, I feel Timberlake hasn’t hit the mark on these past two like he did with his first solo outing Justified and again with his second Future Sex/Love Sounds. As pretty much everyone in the world has witnessed, JT is no one-trick pony. With incredible dancing talent, highly esteemed singing, and even some good acting roles, along with becoming a quick favorite for most as an SNL host, he has shown he deserves to be a professional entertainer. Given all this, I can’t help but think if he focused all his energy on one aspect he would hit gold. If he went back to his musical roots and put his all into an album we would get what we deserve as fans, and would be able to remind everyone why he so easily shone above his fellow NSYNC members’ solo careers.
Not his best work, but still a good stand alone pop album and more enjoyable than the first part.