Justin Timberlake's Suit & Tie Album Has Landed! Here's Our Verdict On The New Songs

12 March 2013 by

Seven years ago Justin was unselfconsciously wearing a Fedora, helping Madonna look a bit Cougar-y and, after two excellent  albums, generally being an excellent pop star. Now he's back with a new album. But what do we think? Priya Elan has a listen on our behalf...

In the almost decade since his last album (2006’s 'FutureSex/LoveSounds') we’ve seen him morph into B-list Hollywood royalty with his cinematic ventures veering from the good ('The Social Network') to the bad ('The Love Guru', 'Bad Teacher').

So far his pop comeback has involved him dressing up like Janelle Monae on a Rat Pack- themed weekend away, but with 'The 20/20 Experience' streaming on iTunes (www.itunes.com/justintimberlake) today we can ask finally answer the important questions. Like, can the man still rock a thinly brimmed hat? Can he still drop an impromtu beatbox without us attempting to wipe spittle off our necks? Well let’s find out shall we?

1)      Timba/Timber Is Back In Business

  Teaming back up with producer Timberlake (his main collaborator on ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ and, more importantly, his classic 'Cry Me River') means that the album is full of great Timba/Timber moments. Our current favourite is 'Don’t Hold The Wall', which finds the Bollywood sample referencing the producer’s illustrious musical past (hello, 'Get Ur Freak O'n and Aaliyah’s 'We Need A Resolution').

2)      He’s “doing a Miguel”…

…Even though Justin "did Miguel” before “Miguel” was “Miguel”. Yes, with R&B mid-tempos experiencing a massive resurgence in popularity at the mo, thanks to the likes of the 'Adorn' singer and The Weeknd,  JT’s new album feels contemporary whilst still referencing his Mr Luvva Luvva past.

3)      His lyrics are fantastically ridiculous

Ok, you’ve already heard 'Suit & Tie'’s head scratching couplets ( including: “So thick, now I know that’s why they call it a ‘fattie’.”) But there’s more poetic gold to be had on the rest of the album ( “I’m trying to find the alien in you, if that’s cool?” – ‘Spaceship Coupe’, “I’ll be your blueberry lollipop,” – ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ ). Answers on a postcard, please.

4)      He’s doing his ‘mini Justin’ voice

Walking that fine line between ‘Barry Gibb in tight jeans’ and ‘early Prince’, JT's still rocking his falsetto. The best of the bunch is the excellent, Shuggie Otis referencing 'Strawberry Bubblegum', where Timbaland provides backing vocals in a Darth Vader-style and Justin seems to compare Jessica Biel to an overly sweet, ultimately disposable piece of confectionary. What a charmer, eh?

5)      It’s value for money!

With songs stretching waaay beyond thenormal 3 minute mark, there’s always a risk things could turn a bit “conceptual Prog rock opera about Henry VIII’s six wives”, but to their credit Timba and Timber manage to keep things interesting, even when things veer into 7 or 8 minute territory. Whether that’s executed via orgasmic mouse sounds ('Spaceship Coupe'),  the suggestion of dubstep ('Pusher Love Girl')  or when things going a bit ‘Miami Sound Machine’ (‘Let The Groove Get In’).
In conclusion:  It feels like a fitting end to the trilogy he began with ‘Justified’. A deep, pop masterpiece, with some wacky lyrics to boot.


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