After receiving many accolades for the release of his comeback album, “The 20/20 Experience,” in March 2013, Justin Timberlake is back less than a year later with “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2.” Although the album officially dropped on Sept. 30, it began streaming live on iTunes on Sept. 23, giving both critics and fans the opportunity to listen and form their first impressions.
“The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2” features 11 new tracks that take on a darker, more mature nature than its predecessor.
“Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want),” the album’s opening track, speaks of unleashing an “animal inside” and the follow-up, “True Blood,” compares an intoxicating relationship to the desires of a vampire. Timberlake’s vocals are sultry and strong as always, but there is an added passion to the songs that listeners have not heard since “FutureSex/ LoveSounds.”
“Take Back The Night,” the leading single off the album, has been criticized due to its title paralleling an anti-rape campaign. It is the track that most resembles the classic Timberlake pop/ jazz infusion. “Drink You Away” also pays homage to Timberlake’s roots with a heavy gospel-influenced tone.
“TKO,” the second single, is, however, completely different in tone and feel than “Take Back The Night.” Featuring Timberlake’s long-time producer friend, Timbaland, “TKO” is a dark song about being defeated in a relationship after catching his partner cheating. Although he is happily married to Jessica Biel, Timberlake is able to create one of his most epic breakup songs of all time with this track.
Rappers Drake and Jay Z lend their talents to “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2” on “Cabaret” and “Murder,” respectively. “Cabaret” is, as the name suggests, a very sexualized song while “Murder” mentions Yoko Ono’s role in the downfall of The Beatles.
Timberlake does a complete 180 in “You Got It On,” a ballad where he sweetly tells a girl not to “worry what you wear tonight / Baby you got it on.” “Amnesia” shows his vulnerability and combines heavy bass with slow, crooning vocals to make the listeners truly feel his heartache.
“Not A Bad Thing” closes the album on a much lighter, easier-to-digest note, which is a nice way to finish after listening an in- tense, emotionally driven album. Timberlake promises “you’ll always land right in these arms,” in a quintessential love song that he is so well known for.
Overall, while “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2” is truly a darker, more intense parallel to its prede-cessor, it does not disappoint.
Alexandra D’Aluisio can be reach at Alexandra.daluisio@ student.shu.edu.