Just over six months after Justin Timberlake’s return from a seven-year musical hiatus, the Prince of Pop is back once again with the sequel to “The 20/20 Experience,” cleverly named “The 20/20 Experience: Part 2 of 2.”
The album opens with “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want),” an upbeat funk number that draws audiences in with its playful beats and animalistic lyrics. This is one of the shorter songs on the album, clocking in at only five minutes and fifteen seconds, but the brevity doesn’t last for long.
“True Blood” follows with almost ten minutes of vampire and demon metaphors and annoying wolf howls. This song is not one of the stronger assets of the album, but JT makes up for this shortfall in later tracks.
“Cabaret” is a sultry song for the bedroom, where JT and Drake equate sex to an at-home theatrical performance and brag that they have the female of the song “saying Jesus so much it’s like we are laying in the manger.” The lyrics are hyper-sexualized and imply that the value of a woman is determined simply by her sexual performance, but aside from those unsettling themes, the background beats progress nicely throughout the song and are pleasant to the ear.
“Drink You Away” shows JT’s courage to experiment with a completely different sound and contains clever, relatable lyrics. Elements of blues, gospel and country flow through the song as JT sings about his inability to ameliorate his broken heart. This change in sound is a nice break from the hip-hop/R&B-infused songs that make up the first part of the album.
Other highlights include “You Got it On” and “Not a Bad Thing.” Although “You Got it On” also has sexual undertones, it is much more tasteful than “Cabaret.” JT sweetly serenades with “Tell me what’s better than the two of us/ Cause you by yourself is more than enough for me,” in this Motown-inspired slow jam.
“Not a Bad Thing” happily brings the CD to a close and sounds like it could come straight off an ‘NSYNC reunion album. The song generates strong feelings of nostalgia for me, as it is very reminiscent of my favorite boy band and the songs that blasted on my stereo throughout my childhood. However, JT still makes it clear that he has grown up from his sugary pop days and that he can both be an “adult” and pay homage to his beginnings at the same time.
The album also contains some hidden gems like “Pair of Wings,” where JT shows his soft, fragile, emotional side in this track and is definitely worth the listen.
Overall, despite its minor shortcomings, “Part 2” successfully wraps up JT’s 2013 revival and leaves fans wondering just what else this triple threat has up his sleeves.
RECOMMENDED: Part two of 20/20 closes on a satisfying note for JT fans.