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/
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?