You see, I couldn’t help but notice something at the concert last night – and that something was truly disturbing. People were sitting down. Yes, you read that correctly – sitting down at a Justin Timberlake show. And not just during the slow songs, which I could excuse. During uptempo, dancey ones.
This is sacrilege, people.
The trouble is, Justin – dear Justin, who I love and have loved for many, many years – the trouble is that most of these people just didn’t know those songs, or worse, didn’t care. And that’s because you put out a whopping 21 songs this year. And while back in March, after being starved of your new music for entirely too many years, I would have welcomed 21 new songs, the issue is that… well… and I find this really hard to say, being the superfan that I am… some of them just aren’t that good.
What you could have done, rather than the two album behemoth you released, was condense all of that work into one really amazing album. Cut the number of songs in half and shave some minutes off some of the songs, and instead of something that starts off well but just drags on for too long, you have a tightly knit album full of some really quality stuff. Because, trust me, there’s some really great music deep down inside The 20/20 Experience – the issue is that it gets lost among all of the other self-indulgent mumble jumble that surrounds it.
So I did you all a favor. Below is the HIMTM-approved condensed version of The 20/20 Experience. In the opinion of one singular woman – albeit a woman who has a self-proclaimed PhD in Timberlake Studies – this would have been a far superior single album to the two slightly above average ones you released this year. Let’s just all pretend that Spaceship Coupe never happened, ok? If I want to listen to you sing about space, I’m putting this on instead.
So, let’s press play, shall we?
Pusher Love Girl is, by far, the best of all of JT’s dabbling in the old Hollywood/Rat Pack vibe. It’s a silky smooth martini of a song and a wonderful album opener.
It’s fine, I guess. I might call it the weakest song of these ten, but you can’t deny its singalongability, an essential quality in the Timberlake concert catalog. Plus, I’m sure we can all agree that he does wear a suit and tie quite well.
This song is one of those that should be about three minutes shorter, but I still love it. From the opening NSync-worthy harmonies to the exotic beat, this is the one song on this list that exudes the FutureSex/LoveSounds era “you know you want me” cockiness. And I love it.
Mirrors holds up to almost anything Justin has ever written. It was made for arena singalongs.
This song is odd. I hated it at first, but somehow after a few listens I started not to skip it… and then I found myself selecting it above other options. It’s never going to be a commercial hit, but I think it’s hauntingly beautiful, and now I love it.
I admit, the animal imagery is a little on the corny side. But the beat is prime for some JT sexytime dance moves.
I’d trim at least two minutes off of this song as well, but until it gets to the stupid breakdown at the end, it’s so good. Even if it drives me crazy that he wrote “whistle blows” instead of “whistles blow.” He made up for that with all of the sexiness in the video. (The good stuff starts at around 3:50. Trust me on this.)
Justin’s first two albums gave us one really great breakup song each. Double the albums, double the great breakup songs… except both found their way onto Part Two. There were a total of two songs on the entire 20/20 Experience that I absolutely loved upon first listen – Mirrors and this one, a bluesy ode to drinking to forget that’s worthy of Justin’s Memphis roots. Bonus: he played it in concert, with guitar. Swoooooooon.
And here’s the second great breakup song. It took me a little longer to warm to this one, but since I warmed, I haven’t been able to stop listening. It’s trippy and complex, a little bit of a less bitter cousin to Cry Me a River, and honestly the only song here that deserves to be seven minutes long.
I just love the sound of this one, with all of the distorted effects added to Justin’s voice.
Want to save the whole playlist? Here you go. And you’re welcome, Justin. I accept payment in the form of backstage passes and private concerts.