The title of Justin Timberlake’s latest release can be taken in two different ways, 1. It’s a play on the return of the 1920’s sound, but in the future (The year 2020) or 2. It’s his way of cracking open the music industry to see clearly that over the last few years they’ve been putting out music that is less than inspiring. Either way, after a 6 year hiatus Justin Gives us a gem of a project and really proves the theory of quality over quantity. Though the album only lists 10 tracks, the songs are movements on there own, lasting anywhere between 7 to 9 minutes. A formula that is not unfamiliar in the Timbaland/Justiollaboration catalogue.
Starting with “Pusher-Love Girl” the album kicks off as if the curtains have opened and your ears are applauding for the anticipation of the spectacle. As the album progresses, however, you realize its not as earth shatteringly different, rather then it’s the sophistication of the production itself and the well thought out musicality of the presentation that is the star of the show.
Justin’s smooth voice and melodic choices glide over these tracks like silk and the marriage is complete, but unfortunately that’s where it stops. When you actually begin to gain a sense of the lyrical content you almost wish you had just stayed in sonic LA LA Land, this is the album biggest weak point. After 6 years of silence, marriage and the mere fact that he is in his 30’s, you expect Justin’s music to be a little more in depth, lyrically. Its not like he’s not a good writer, his previous works for himself and others speak for themselves, but here it sounds like he’s a kid, trying to be grown and sexy, rather then just being.
With songs like “Suit and Tie” and “Strawberry Bubblegum” (which I’m still debating if this is a metaphor for the vaginal area or is he literally talking about falling for a hooker who is “popping that strawberry bubblegum”), Im left wondering …
But whatever the case, its pretty obvious why “Mirrors” was chosen as the 2nd single, as it was safe and typical of Justin and Timbaland (personally, I think conceptually “That Girl” would have been a better choice instead). The album’s production and even the entire concept scream something of a new beginning, but lyrically its a few years behind. I’d rather hear him ‘oooh and ahhh’ these melodies rather than actually listen to what he has to say. All is not lost though, as the closing song on the album “Blue Ocean Floor” is a complete winner, despite everything else before it falling short in comparison.
All in all, the album is a great offering, and a wonderful contrast to the sounds we hear in pop music, and most will not find themseleves upset at all. The quality of the music and production is so well put together that it actually outshines the lack of content and when listeners playback the album, they will be captured by the sounds, which can’t be said about most LP’s that come out this day and age.