Six years ago, Justin Timberlake released an album that established him as an R&B singer unafraid to take risks in his music. Although a lot of time has passed since his last CD, his newest release shows he has not lost any charm on his latest album “The 20/20 Experience.”
The entire album is a conglomeration of elegance and indulgence. Songs average more than six minutes in length, and Timberlake uses all the sonic possibilities available, as well as heavy jam sessions for the band.
Each song on the album works to create a mixture of pop, soul and R&B, and the sound melds together to tell a story throughout the album.
The sounds of “Don’t Hold the Wall” are psychedelic with a touch of Bollywood sci-fi thrown in. Flutes, rain-stick percussion, crickets and pitch-shifted voices encourage listeners to get up and dance. “Blue Ocean Floor” brings together old rock and Usher’s influence to make an eerie song that seems to creep out of the speakers and snake along the floor.
Many people already know “Suit and Tie,” first single from this album. This song almost sums up the theme Timberlake presents throughout the album. In “That Girl,” Timberlake croons, “I’m in love with that girl, and she told me that she’s in love with me.” “Suit and Tie” tells about his date with this girl.
Timberlake has been busy working in Hollywood, but does he have the talent to continue singing? The eight-minute songs in “The 20/20 Experience” suggest he’s lost some of his touch. After a while, listeners find themselves skipping the last few minutes of the song to get to the next one. Although each song is beautiful, the length makes the songs inaccessible.
The only song in which the length is appropriate is “Tunnel Vision,” a daring, dense production. The small symphony that accompanies Timberlake’s crooning voice adds a startling contrast to the syncopated percussion. “Tunnel Vision” is the spiritual yet sexy high point of “The 20/20 Experience” and is hopefully the model for the second installment of this album that is due for release this fall.
Rating: Three stars