ARTIST Justin Timberlake
ALBUM The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2
RELEASE DATE 30 September 2013
5.3 | 10
Call it short-sighted; call it hindsight. But whatever you do, don’t call it 20/20 vision. On JT’s second installment of his The 20/20 Experience, the former boy band member turned global pop icon doubles down on his formulaic approach to making music. Whereas the first installment featured JT in the throws of marital bliss, 2 of 2 finds Timberlake attempting to create a meaningful arc to this story by having this installment be the underside of relationships, focusing on the nitty gritty instead of the lovey dovey.
And therein lies the problem with this sequel to JT’s spring blockbuster; the core reason for its existence is just not strong enough to warrant its inclusion in Timberlake’s discography. After a decent-enough opener, things turn south in a hurry on “True Blood,” which, as you would expect, is all about Vampire as Metaphor for Woman. “Take Back the Night” somehow still found a spot on the tracklist, even with its rather tone deaf appearance.
Musically, 2 of 2‘s cold, cyclical nature makes 1 of 1 almost sound organic by comparison. When Jay Z shows up for another forgettable verse on “Murder,” it seems more like a contractual obligation than an honest attempt to make worthwhile music. “Cabaret” spoils an otherwise great verse from Drake with it’s overcooked production, which is a main problem throughout. This is quite definitely the least inspired Timberlake has sounded on record, a shocking turn of events for an artist who at the beginning of 2013 had the world in the palm of his hand.
Music is best when it makes the listener ask questions, makes them think about what they’re hearing. And while a lot of questions pop up during The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, the biggest question is the one you want asked the least: Why? As in, “Why does this exist?” Turns out there’s no vision that can provide a satisfactory response.