warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Justin Timberlake: 'The 20/20 Experience: 2 Of 2' Album Review

Arash Zandi |
October 1, 2013 | 9:21 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Justin Timberlake rounds off his much-anticipated comeback with his fourth album. (via Wikimedia)
Justin Timberlake rounds off his much-anticipated comeback with his fourth album. (via Wikimedia)
"I'm the one that sits and is obsessive about it before you even get to hear it. As close as I get to it, I don't think I can physically torture myself that much, year in and year out, and expect it to fulfill me the way that it does and the way that it is right now. You just don't get that every day. You have to wait for it." — this is what Justin Timberlake had to say about his extended music hiatus.

On March 15, 2013, the former 'N Sync member officially ended that hiatus by releasing the best-selling album, "The 20/20 Experience," hereafter referred to as "1 of 2." You've probably seen his posts everywhere on social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. JT has been everywhere promoting the second part of his latest music project, "The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2", which hits digital and physical scores today. 2013 is proving to be the year of the Timberlake.

According to the album's co-producer, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, "2 of 2" consists of outtakes from the recording sessions of "1 of 2," as well as some new material from later recording sessions. This is definitely reflected in the album, as it has different elements to that of "1 of 2," but there are a few tracks that are reminiscent of the first part. "2 of 2" also has a darker and edgier feel to it on most of the tracks, as indicated by their lyrics and production.

The album begins with "Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)," which is one of the few that keeps in tune with "1 of 2." Long time collaborating producer and friend Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley's signature beats are all over this song. JT has a noticeably lower vocal range, especially in the chorus.

The next track, "True Blood," definitely sounds like it belonged on "1 of 2". The lyrics are quite primal in nature, coupled with animal-like sound effects on the track, a definite club song that can get heartbeats racing quickly. Timbaland's fast-paced, bhangra-style beats provide the backing track. The title of the track, along with the lyrics, suggest that it belongs on a future episode of the popular TV show of the same name.

"Cabaret" is quite bass-heavy. The track features Canadian rapper Aubrey "Drake" Graham as well. As the title and lyrics suggest, this track would be best suited for a gentlemen's club, while dancers work their magic on the audience.

READ MORE: Drake: 'Nothing Was The Same' Album Review

"TKO" is a throwback to Timberlake's older songs and would be a great fit on his earlier releases "Justified" and "FutureSex/LoveSounds." It was released (as of this writing), as one of two singles from the album. Lyrically, the song is about a girl who "knocks out" Timberlake emotionally.

The album continues, with what is the writer's personal track from the album (the single for it was also released on his birthday), an opinion that is most likely shared by many, as "Take Back the Night" is the most well-known song on "2 of 2." From the start, the upbeat track about a potential love interest immediately sounds like an instant hit. JT channels "Off the Wall"-era Michael Jackson, while the Earth, Wind and Fire-esque horns, as well as the strings, are prominent throughout the entire disco and R&B themed number. Timbaland also gives a shoutout to Timberlake's new fan club, the Tennessee Kids.

READ MORE: Justin Timberlake's New Album Proves That Hindsight Isn't Always 20/20

Brooklyn-based rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter returns to collaborate with Justin in the next track, "Murder." Lyrically, the song is about a girl who is "murder," a darker theme than their previous collaborations "Suit & Tie" and "Holy Grail."

The next track, "Drink You Away," is stylistically quite different from any other song that Timberlake has done so far. The alcohol-themed song appropriately has that bar rock feel to it, a la Lady Gaga's "You and I." Electric and acoustic guitars and organs are the main instruments in this song. In this song, JT talks about a girl who broke his heart and he tries to forget about her by "drinking her away."

"You Got It On" is definitely "2 of 2"'s version of "Spaceship Coupe." The romantic and sensual lyrics make this track best suited for a date, as well as those heated and intimate moments in the bedroom. JT's falsetto, coupled with the light production on this song ensure that this one is to be saved for that special night.

Strings open up the next track, "Amnesia," which is about Timberlake trying to forget about a girl that he used to know, hence the title, a theme similar to "Drink You Away," In a manner similar to songs from "FutureSex/LoveSounds" and "1 of 2," the song is, production-wise, divided into two parts.

"Only When I Walk Away" is instrumentally similar to "Drink You Away," featuring electric guitars all throughout the first half of the song. The second half changes its style, like "Amnesia," instead including airhorns and heavier bass. The song is about a girl changing her mind about her feelings for Justin when he "walks away." The lyrics are reminiscent of his previous hit "What Goes Around...Comes Back Around."

The final song on the album, "Not A Bad Thing" is the song on the album is is actually a throwback to Timberlake's days with 'N Sync. The poppy song sounds like it's straight out of 2000 and takes you back to school to when you had your first crush. Lyrically, JT is telling a girl about how it is, as the song suggests, "Not A Bad Thing" to fall in love with him.

Twenty seconds after the end of "Not A Bad Thing" enters the hidden track, which is an acoustic number. Justin talks about how he would fly away with a girl on a "Pair of Wings," which is the song's name. The softest song on the album closes it out in a more modest tone than what some would expect, given the darker nature of nearly all the previous tracks.

Stylistically, "2 of 2" is more varied than "1 of 2." Timberlake has some throwbacks to his older stuff, but still keeps in tune with "1 of 2" as well. The tracks on here are for the most part, shorter, which may be a refreshing sight for some still reeling from his 7-8 minute songs on "1 of 2."

Both parts are also sold together in "The 20/20 Experience - The Complete Experience." Accompanied by a worldwide tour kicking off at the end of October, JT has truly made a great comeback to the industry that shot him to stardom. Here's hoping that he's here to stay.

Read more of NT's album reviews here.

Reach Arash Zandi here. Follow him on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.