It’s the year to bring back all of the artists on hiatus. First Paramore, then Fall Out Boy and now Justin Timberlake is back.
Timberlake’s new album was one of the most anticipated albums this year, reaching out to different groups of people including N’ Sync fans, fans of Justin Timberlake’s older music and fans of his acting career. Aside from being featured in a few songs by The Lonely Island, Timberlake has mostly been working on his acting career until this album.
Since Timberlake has been on hiatus music-wise for the past seven years, several expectations have been attached to his new album “The 20/20 Experience,” which was released Friday. Now he is back to making albums filled with relaxing instrumentals and provocative lyrics, which is what he was most famous for before his acting career.
Several of the songs on “The 20/20 Experience” have a sort of sensual instrumental style which pairs really well with Timberlake’s falsetto voice. Like several of his previously released songs, there are sexual innuendos in almost every song on this album.
Some of the songs keep the message hidden for the purpose of releasing it to the radio. His first single from this album, “Suit and Tie,” embodies the idea of trying to attract someone and seduce them, but in an incredibly classy way.
“Suit and Tie” created a positive hype for the album months before it was released. Shortly after its release, the song reached the top position in the iTunes store. Since then it has also appeared on two Billboard charts.
On the opposite end of the playing field, another song from the album, “Strawberry Bubblegum” is not nearly as sneaky about its provocative message as “Suit and Tie.”
The metaphor of strawberry bubblegum becomes obvious as soon as it is mentioned and a listener is able to tell the direction the song will go within the first 20 seconds. Several of the other songs have this type of message and style with varying degrees of intensity.
This style of music works well for Timberlake.
Coming back into the music scene after such a long hiatus can be incredibly difficult as it increases expectations and puts a massive amount of pressure on the artist, the album and the record company producing the album.
Helping to reassure the audience that you still have basically the same style you had before a hiatus will positively affect the sales of an album. In this case, the songs still have the smooth beats, phenomenally high notes for a male singer and stimulating lyrics.
Another thing that helped to soften the pressure of this new album was Timberlake hosting an episode of the popular TV series “Saturday Night Live.” This not only helped to build hype, but it helped viewers to refamiliarize themselves with his sound.
This album’s success could potentially be up in the air as listeners can have short attention spans. “Suit and Tie” lasts for about five minutes in the edited version played on the radio.
Like “Suit and Tie,” the tracks on “The 20/20 Experience” have an average duration of seven minutes. With 10 tracks, this brings the album to about 70 minutes long.
Even though our culture isn’t used to such a length to music anymore, the songs from “The 20/20 Experience” don’t become dull and have the ability to keep a listener’s attention.
Overall, “The 20/20 Experience” had a lot of difficult circumstances surrounding the album; however Timberlake has made it work for him and it really is a spectacular album worth a listen.
This article by Khadija Djellouli originally published in The Gannon Knight on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013.