Experience Another 20/20

Despite catchy hooks and well-produced tracks, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience Part II” still doesn’t compete with the strongest songs of “Part I” like “Suit & Tie.”

Timberlake is having an outstanding year with his return to music. In March he released “The 20/20 Experience,” which debuted number one on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts and went on to go double platinum.

“Part II” features his top-charting single “Take Back The Night,” which could just be the push he needs to make artist of the year.

This album holds a few similarities to “Part I.” Neither experiments past Timberlake’s signature strengths in pop and R&B; beats. Both albums also come in long, with “Part I” and “II” featuring seven and five tracks running past the 7-minute mark respectively.

The entire album is produced by hit-maker Timbaland with some tracks co-produced by Timberlake.

“Not A Bad Thing,” is the longest track of the album and most interesting one. At just over 11-minutes, it starts off sounding like another corporate “hit,” but then switches to a slow pop/rock rhythm which sounds incredible.

The lyrics are not only deep, but personal: “I know people make promises all the time/Then turn around and break them/When someone cuts your heart open with a knife, while you beating.”

“Only When I Walk Away,” is another standout on the album. Fans will love how the beat develops up until the end, creating space for Justin’s verse: “She loves me now, only when I walk away… She only loves me when I walk away,” to keep repeating.

In “TKO,” Timberlake paints a fight metaphor to accompany Timbaland’s outstanding beat: “Been swinging after the bell and after all of the whistle blows/Tried to go below the belt, through my chest, perfect hit to the dome/This ain’t the girl that I used to know, no TKO,”

If the album needed anything, it would be more producers and shorter songs.

Even though the lyrics prove great and catchy, listeners will feel slowed by the repetition. With all the tracks being produced by Timbaland, it would have been great to see a different side of Justin in this half of the album.

“Part II” isn’t stronger than the first half of “The 20/20 Experience” by any stretch of the imagination, but as a combination, both albums will come to dominate 2013. The albums are loaded with hits and Justin is looking at yet another platinum-selling release.