By Katie Tracy
After a seven year hiatus, JT brought “SexyBack”. His long-awaited album “The 20/20 Experience” followed his 2004 album “Future Sex/Love Songs.” The first installment of “The 20/20 Experience” was released March 2013 after much anticipation. He released “Suit and Tie” and “Mirrors” in the months prior to the release of the album, and hard-core fangirls and music enthusiasts alike rejoiced in the return of the “President of Pop” (to quote JT’s friend, Jimmy Fallon). The excitement intensified when it was announced that there would be a second installment to “The 20/20 Experience” shortly after the release of the first.
The first installment of the “The 20/20 Experience” starts off with “Pusher Love Girl”, what sounds like the beginning of an old-timey romance movie, leading into the heart-fluttering “Hey, little mama” (full-on fangirl-ing ensued). The first eight minutes of this album are pure JT pleasure for your ear-holes. This song got me hooked, and now I’m addicted, I’m “hopped up on it.”
Next up is “Suit & Tie”, the first single off of the album. This song was on the radio in February 2013, turning my morning commute into a party in my Focus. JT wants to “show you a few things about love” in this catchy ditty, with Jay-Z as his assistant teacher.
“Mirrors” is the second single off of the first “20/20” album. The one with the music video that looks like somebody videotaped me dancing in in a Target dressing room and photo shopped Justin’s face on mine. This song is reminiscent of original Justin material, but with a contemporary groove. Its message is sweet, in that he is saying that someone is his other half, like they’re his reflection in a mirror… “Whoa”.
The second installment of the “20/20 Experience” is led by singles “TKO” and “Take Back the Night.” Other songs such as “Drink You Away” and “Only When I Walk Away” are fairly popular after Justin performed it on his most recent “Saturday Night Live” stint.
The first single from “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2” is “TKO.” The best part of “TKO” is the outro from “Cabaret” into “TKO.” I will often skip to that part in “Cabaret” and wait for “TKO” to start. “TKO’s” music video was released Oct. 29, 2013 on Justin’s VEVO account (Go watch it!) and has almost 30 million views to date.
“Take Back the Night” is the second single that was released from this album. It is described by “Rolling Stone Magazine” as resonant of Michael Jackson’s style. Its groovy hooks and funky backbeat make for an easy fan-favorite. Proclamations to “take back the night” will create an instant party-mood.
I would say that the first album, as a whole, is much higher quality and much more like the Justin that I’m used to. With filler songs (but the best songs, in my humble opinion) like “Don’t Hold the Wall,” “Strawberry Bubblegum” (this song would be perfection on vinyl), and “That Girl” (complete with an intro by Timbaland, Justin’s longtime producer friend). The second album is alright (I’d probably give it 2 out of 5 starts if it didn’t have the swanky “You Got It On” or the wonderful “Cabaret”). But big songs like “TKO” and “Take Back the Night” keep this album so beloved by even the mildest Justin Timberlake fans. When asked about the reasoning behind the title “20/20 Experience,” Justin reported that a friend told him that his music is the kind of music that you can see. I agree with this friend of Justin’s because every time I hear a song of his, I am bombarded with memories of school dances, hanging out with my friends, and just plain fun times. Justin kicked off his 20/20 Experience World Tour, most recently stopping in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 20. As reported by an MTV Music columnist, JT played a three-hour set, consisting of his newest material along with tributes to Michael Jackson, Tupac, and Elvis. He will be stopping in Detroit at The Palace on July 28, 2014. I got my tickets…I just need my “Suit & Tie.”