Timberlake ends his long hiatus with a smash-hit album

20-20-experience-part-2-artworkEVEN his most loyal fans would have to admit that a 7-year break from the music business may have been too much to bear. Future Sex/Love Sounds was the last studio album released by Justin Timberlake.  Never fear. The 20/20 Experience proves that regardless of Timberlake’s forays into Hollywood Music is what he does best. The 20/20 Experience is the musical equivalent of a bird-coming home to roost, or a drunken student returning to the warmth of bed after a mistake-laden night out. This is no slur on his acting ability by no-means, because he can act, but when you’re so good at another string in the artistic bow it begs the question: Why would you ever leave?

The purpose of music is to provide in an album an opportunity to escape. Music albums are pieces of marketable escapism. With this album the escapism it offers is through the medium of beat. Beat. Helped massively by the productional genius of Timbaland in the modern market, it will get even those who despise pop music bobbing their heads to the inventive beats of Timbaland and the rest of the team at RCA records.

The 20/20 Experience has two parts, inventively released separately under the titles, you guessed it, The 20/20 Experience Part 1, and-wait for it- The 20/20 Experience Part 2.  However, with Timberlake’s bank balance, have no fear that this album was written for the love of music rather than any economic gain.

The hallmark track off either album ‘Mirrors’ is obviously an eight-minute public serenade of his wife Jessica Biel, and as many female listeners will appreciate the sentiment of “turning two reflections into one”, as Timberlake so eloquently expresses. The racy jazziness of ‘Body Count’ implores you to move and is counterbalanced by the 1920’s violin opening to Pusher Lover Girl and The Boys 2 Men-Style harmonic opening to Don’t Hold The Wall and Spaceship Coupe . This is a love letter to music. Fuelled by sexiness that is also suave and sophisticated gives the urge to buy this album an added magnetism.

The 20/20 Experience Part 2 is far more dark and introspective than the first instalment. TKO explores that ever-so-often used motif in music of the relationship gone wrong with a self-critical perspective. “This ain’t the girl I used to know, not anymore”. Through such lines Timberlake is trying to appeal to both the male and female demographic, using beat and linguistic fluidity in his lines to ensure people with interests in all genres will have their heads turned by this album that is fast-becoming a global sensation in 2013.

With party anthems of soul such as Take Back the Night will ensure stylistic comparisons to Michael Jackson’s earlier soulful work in the late 70s as a solo artist with songs such as Rock with You and Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. Timberlake is not alone in, intentionally or unintentionally, using the self-proclaimed King of Pop as stylistic inspiration in his work.

It entered the UK Charts immediately at Number 1 earlier in the summer and Part 2 is still in the Billboard Top 20. This album has been top of the charts both sides of the Atlantic, evidence of its great appeal to music lovers the world over, at least in the traditional sense of dominating sales, airtime and the charts both in Europe and America.

In the mould of the best artists of the last quarter of a century it is obvious that this album was written with the express intention of touring and performing live. The balance he has to find in doing so is the tread the fine line between mass popularity and peaking sales and overexposure. Now embarking on a near 10-month tour of his native country and Europe, the Memphis boy is to maximise his appeal in the traditional sense. Album, Tour, Record Sales. The formula is simple.

Coming to our shores in April when he plays the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on the 30th March before two already sold out back-to-back dates at what is becoming the Mecca for all travelling performers, The O2 at the start of April (before returning on the 10th June-TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE). He won’t be finished there, continuing through the heartland of Europe as he visits Zurich, Berlin, before hitting the impressive Stade de France in Paris and MGM Grand when he returns to The United States in the twilight of the tour.

Timberlake is the musical equivalent of a prizefighter before a pay-per-view bout. However, I have no doubt that all his selling will be worth it and the paying public continent wide will get their money’s worth. Having been nominated for the Best Male at The American Music Awards and one of GQ Magazine’s Men of The Year, for such a seasoned performer Timberlake’s 2013 is akin to a break out year. With the seven year break, describing it as such is justifiable.