Briefly breaking the run of Adele domination, Justin Timberlake claimed the #1 selling album in 2013 with “The 20/20 Experience”. Not surprisingly, there are some catchy hooks, although not as many as I hoped, and his collaboration with Timbaland keeps the production quality on the top shelf. With all of that said, my one overwhelming and consistent reaction, particularly for a pop record, is “WHY IS EVERY SONG SO DAMN LONG?!?!” This is Justin Timberlake, not Pink Floyd, so as much as there were some bright spots, this record was a bit of a grind.
There were three singles released from this album, and I as I suspected, there are radio edits for these tracks. If I could find the “radio edit” version of this entire album, then we might have something more to celebrate. The one song I clearly recognized from this collection is “Mirrors”. It is a great pop song that sounds like it could have just as easily been a big hit for Timberlake’s original act, NSYNC. As a 4:37 radio hit, this is a great song, and one I will gladly add to my playlist. In its original form where it is longer than Stairway to Heaven… not so much.
The first three songs on this record are probably the others I enjoyed most. “Pusher Love Girl” has a great vibe once it kicks in and is a good starter for the record. I also liked “Suit & Tie”, another of the singles, but like most Jay-Z collaborations, I was pretty neutral on his contributions to the song. “Don’t Hold the Wall” has a darker feel, but also held my attention for most of the song.
If there is one song I didn’t quite connect with, it is “Blue Ocean Floor”, which sounds like his contribution to an undersea documentary for the Nature Channel. I appreciate the exploratory tone of the song, but like most of this record, it is just too much of an initial good idea. Maybe my attention span is waning with age, but I’ll keep my pop songs in bite-sized portions for now.