April 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 47°F


Review: Sequel album fails to improve Timberlake’s dance-pop vision

"The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2"

Justin Timberlake

The second installment of Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” is full of sexy, club-ready tunes. “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2” has a completely different sound than its jazzy predecessor, with more synthesizers and explicit tracks, but it falls short of topping it.

Timberlake pays homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the HBO vampire series “True Blood,” in his track “True Blood,” a nearly 10-minute song about vampire sex that would be an enjoyable dance track if it were not five minutes too long. While Timberlake manages to hold attention with sounds of wolf howls and the iconic “Thriller” laugh, the repetition becomes boring.

The album should have begun in the middle with the track “TKO,” where Timberlake hits his stride. This song is classic Timberlake, featuring his sexy falsetto and cool beatboxing.

The standout song “Drink You Away” is a new sound for Timberlake, featuring a country twang. The guitar strums of this song are a welcome change as they stand out in a sea of synthesizers and sexual overtones. His voice ranges from deep rasps to falsettos, which make the song. The change in instruments and tone present Timberlake as a multifaceted performer.

The gem of the album is hidden at the 5:30 mark of the final song, “Not A Bad Thing.” The interlude, called “Pair of Wings,” gives a sweet, romantic sound and finally showcases Timberlake’s voice rather than his ability to mix beats together. He is joined only by an acoustic guitar as he croons, “If I had a pair of wings/ I’d pick you up and fly you far away from here.”

With such high expectations stemming from his platinum-selling part one, Timberlake has produced a part-two album fans can be proud of, but proves the sequel is rarely better than the original.