This was easily the most anticipated release of the year, and maybe in the past seven years. Future Sex/ Love Sounds just crashed through the music world so heavily, that when JT decided to take a music hiatus to focus on acting, he left a black hole where his fiery presence once was in the music realm. It felt like seventy years too long instead of seven when he kept delaying a return to the music scene repeatedly. So when “Suit and Tie” echoed through speakers across the nation, nay, the world, The 20/20 Experience became the album that would be the first offering from the man who practically breathes sex. I will admit I played “Suit and Tie” on the daily until the whole album was available for me to listen to.
Of course the album was so sugary that the album felt like the sweetest candy I had ever tasted. Sometimes it got too syrupy but most of the time it was the perfect amount of poppy greatness that we had all come to expect and love from JT. Part the fact it had been too long since his last project, part this actually was a beautiful album, The 20/20 Experience continued right where Future Sex/ Love Sounds left off. It was grandiose and sweet, booming and dramatic and sexy and powerful. The charisma Justin Timberlake has is unstoppable at his lowest moments and at his best he is on top of the world.
I first heard this album in Portland, hung over from a night at Reed College, as my friends slumbered into the day. It was raining outside it was a little chilly but the instant that “Pusher Love Girl” hit my ear drums I started to warm up. I sat and listened to the entire album from start to finish entranced by my hero of middle school and the new music he had created. It was pure, unadulterated pop music and it was light and theatrical to the point that sometimes I forgot I had been listening to JT for over an hour. There were complicated string licks, thunderous horns and powerful synth and electronic effects. The production was spotless with no blemishes or imperfections, just a wall of faultless sound that was as creamy as it was musical.
People have so many connotations with JT. The man who was the face of NSYNC, he has gone from boy band wonder, to Super Bowl scapegoat in the wardrobe malfunction to sex icon with Future Sex/Love Sounds. Now he is back, grown up, mature and still able to create sensual music like he was 18 and single. The thing is, this is not bad music in any way. This is Michael Jackson and Prince squashed together to form a man who can entrance women, men, children and priests with his undeniable charm and insanely catchy music. Moving your body as sexually as one can is the only way to handle his music and whether you are in middle school (like I was when Future Sex/ Love Sounds first assaulted my ears) or in college like I am now, with The 20/20 Experience. JT gives liquid confidence to any and everyone with his music and this album is no different.
Whether people judge him for releasing a part two for purely financial and greed based reasons is another point, but what he did with part one of The 20/20 Experience can not be denied. It was the come back of the year and no matter who you are, some part of the album rooted inside of everyone, giving people a little sexiness to keep with them for the rest of their lives.