SCENE REVIEW: The 20/20 Experience Pt. 2
James Driscoll // arts columnist
And it happened in the most stereotypical of fashions. A comeback artist puts out a hit album, appears all over the media to gain positive attention but quickly follows up massive success with a mediocre album; this happens all the time in the music industry. Artists get overconfident and record executives too happy with profits to slow the band down. You would think with all those years in the music industry, that he would be a little bit wiser than the typical entertainer. But sadly, he is not. Enter “The 20/20 Experience 2/2.”
Let’s declare this right of the bat: almost every song on the album is way, way too long. While his overindulgences were forgivable on the original “20/20” due to the charm and catchiness of new JT material, these songs are not.
“TKO” a corny, romantic song about how a girl knocks guys out with her looks, would have been fine as filler on a typical record. But seven minutes! The same beat, same temp, the same lyrics, “she knocks me out” over and over again.
Other songs are on this album wouldn’t even pass as b-sides. “Only When I Walk Away,” a rock song about a girl playing head games is awful. A few guitar notes are played with reverbs, echoes and shouts of the lyric “only when I walked away.” Justin is trying to make you feel pain of a broken relationship but the guitar playing is too trite and mediocre to make you feel anything.
There are some highlights. “Take Back The Night” is a solid throwback to the funk and disco on the ‘70s.
Timberlake finds some grooves from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and makes them his own. JT has great vocal chops and superb arrangement of instruments to back him up for this song.
“Drink You Away,” a bluesy, country song about trying to forget about an old lover is also impressive. The tune is simple and funny. Here, Timberlake demonstrates that he can jump between musical genres effectively.
His non-stop effort is impressive, but the is the main problem with the album is too much ambition. Let’s take “Amnesia.” Starts off promising: good beat, solid backup vocals, but with a flood of other instruments in the last quarter, he demolishes what good will the tune had. “Not A Bad Thing” shares a similar dilemma; if Timberlake tuned his ambition down and didn’t make an epic out of every one song, this album could have been good.
At this point, Justin Timberlake represents the guy still at the house party, trying to play karaoke and get everyone railed up at 4 a.m.. That person who is way too high from the night’s glories to recognize that he’s no longer charming or amusing. Someone should tell JT the party is over. He should take a break before releasing another mess.