September 29, 2013

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Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience Volume 2 (Review)

Nearly 6 months after the first volume of The 20/20 Experience was released is the second one. This was recorded in the same sessions as the first. This is meant to be the 'other side' of the first volume showcasing a slightly darker sound. The concept of suite-styled tracks with extended sections, breaks and attached interludes has been employed here as well.

Here is an overview of each song:

Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) Things start off on an uptempo note with a Prince-esque Hip Hop and Funk toetapper.

True Blood The vampirism-oriented song with obvious Prince and Michael Jackson influences is super catchy and would make for an excellent single and video. The floorshaking bass and drums of the Disco/Tribal hybrid are red hot. Vincent Price's maniacal laughter heard at the end of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is so appropriately sampled.

Cabaret (feat. Drake) This midtempo Hip Hop track is an ode to strippers and strip clubs. Drake brings the sleaze that such a song would have.

TKO The suggestive second single keeps the momentum going of the previous two tracks.

Take Back The Night The Disco and R&B number failed to gain traction as a lead single though within the context of the album, it fits perfectly. It serves as a closing to the 'first act'.

Murder (feat. Jay Z) The Bollywood-esque jam isn't about the crime, but about a killer woman. This has single potential.

Drink You Away The midtempo Country/Rock/Hip Hop/Pop track is quite the departure soundwise, but it all works. It's the "What Comes Around..." Of this album. This is delightful.

You Got It On The synthpop meets quiet storm midtempo is so smooth.

Amnesia This has a similar vibe as "Mirrors" from part 1. The layered harmonies on this are exquisite.

Only When I Walk Away Justin lets out his inner rockstar with this Rod Stewart-esque song.

Not A Bad Thing The guitar-driven pop track has a delightful carefree vibe.

Pair Of Wings This is a hidden track attached to "Not A Bad Thing." The haunting track with just a guitar accompanying Justin's vocals is amazing.

These next two are from the special Target edition:

Blindness The Jason Mraz-ish groover has a fun summery vibe.

Electric Lady The catchy clubbanger is strong enough to be on the standard edition and be a single. Justin's pitch-shifted rap section recalls Prince's alter ego Camille from the late 80s which employed a similar technique.

Timbaland produced all the songs here just as he did with part 1 and for the most part it sounds pretty fresh. The overall vibe of this second album is far more cohesive than on part 1. The songs on this volume are much stronger. Only a couple of the songs feel like they are a minute or two too long ("True Blood" would have worked better if it were about 1.5 minutes shorter as the coda at the end doesn't add anything to the song). This one ends up having great commercial potential with "True Blood", "Amnesia", "Murder", "Drink You Away", "Only When I Walk Away", and "Not A Bad Thing" being obvious single choices, all with proper radio edits of course.

The album will be released on September 30. Volume 2 will be available on its own in both a standard edition and a special edition sold exclusively through Target with "Blindness" and "Electric Lady" as the bonus tracks. A special combined edition with both volumes 1 and 2 will be available as well. A vinyl edition is planned as well.

Grade: A


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