It’s been six years since the singer released his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds which had become extra-popular. Since then Justin Timberlake has been focused on his acting career and personal life.
Now the Grammy winner returns to music, with his third album, The 20/20 Experience, which can be streamed on iTunes. He reunites with Timbaland, who produced all 10 tracks, while his “Legends of the Summer” tourmate Jay-Z appears on the lead single “Suit & Tie.”
But was it worth the wait for the new album for six years? Here’s a round-up of the critics’ reviews considering J.T.’s comeback.
“The sound of The 20/20 Experience is complex, rich and rewarding. It rigorously avoids every one of the tired sonic cliches in which pop-R&B is currently mired: there’s not a hint of a dubstep-inspired bassline, nor a house-inspired breakdown,” writes Alexis Petridis of The Guardian.
“Nevertheless, there are problems. The songwriting isn’t bad – Timberlake can really write a chorus – but nor is it good enough to warrant the sheer length of the songs: the shortest track on the album lasts five minutes, while two tip over the eight-minute mark,” the critic concluded.
“With the production lovingly upholstered by long-term collaborator Timbaland, it feels at once sleek, spacious and expensive, but relaxed and intimate. Like hanging out in the VIP chill-out room of an A-list nightspot,” writes Helen Brown of The Telegraph.
Rolling Stone‘s critic, Jody Rosen, says of the album: “The 20/20 Experience is the biggest pop event of 2013 so far, but it’s not quite a pop album. Its sense of musical space-time is more elastic and sprawling than anything on the radio.”
“The driving duo’s basic approach remains one of touching up old-school textures with modern production values. Funky horns and soulful strings are everywhere—acting as rhythm instruments on the effervescent, gorgeously textured “Let the Groove Get In,” which recalls Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ giddier classics,” writes Elysa Gardner of USA Today.
New York Daily News’ observer, Jim Farber, concluded: “He Fred Astaires his way through these tracks, dancing over their melody with the air of an acrobat. It all serves the persona he has adopted and, by now, perfected—a lover able to balance a boyish eagerness with a manly talent.”
Chicago Sun-Times’ critic Thomas Conner praised Timberlake for his new album, saying: “Timberlake’s outing is promising, though the full delivery of that promise requires patience and repeated listening. This album’s a grower, not a shower.“
“But it’s been long enough since he identified as a working musician that The 20/20 Experience feels like an attempt to reclaim Timberlake’s space in a deeply altered landscape; it makes a play for timelessness at a moment of unabashed ephemerality,” echoed Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times.
If FutureSex/LoveSounds was Timberlake’s date with the dance floor, then this is his honeymoon album as the singer tied the knots with his long-time partner Jessica Biel last year.
“It’s great to be married, the ceremony was beautiful and it was so special to be surrounded by our family and friends,” the happy couple told reporters after the ceremony was over.
The two kept their wedding plans in a strict secret. Even their friends and family didn’t even know where they were going until they landed at a stop en route to their ultimate destination.