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mardi gras

The 20/20 Experience: The Re-Emergence of Justin Timberlake

The re-emergence of Justin Timberlake on the music scene has been a shock and a thrill. It had been six years since FutureSex/LoveSounds and ten years since his solo debut. I remember back to his *NSYNC days, but was not really a fan of Justin’s until their last album. Aside from the Haitian relief concert and a few Saturday Night Live appearances, which are hilarious, Timberlake had not sung publically in years. Many of his fans had given up on a new album and were so grateful to have any new songs at all that not liking the new direction did not matter. When I first heard The 20/20 Experience, I only really liked “Mirrors”. Other songs grew on me as I adjusted to his new more r&b sound and songs that seem too long. “Suit and Tie” with Jay Z is cool and “Pusher Love Girl” is what I wanted as the third single.

However, the third single has become a bit confusing. Timberlake released a video for “Tunnel Vision” at almost the same time he released “Take Back The Night”. The latter is the first single off of part two of 20/20, which is set for September release. The video for “Tunnel Vision” caused some friction for his artistic vision. Much like the video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” it featured naked women while the singer was clothed. I liked Timberlake’s execution better though. His was not as awkward and the naked women were not as on display though they were the focus. His had better lighting and a more artistic feel while Thicke’s seemed like a poorly done parody. I love Twitter as much as the next person, but leave hashtags out of your video. Do not use “naked” women for shock value either, it’s 2013. These videos furthered the question of whether Timberlake was turning into Thicke. Meanwhile, the chart success of “Blurred Lines” has given Thicke respect from popular music that his career has never seen. I might not like the video, but the song is damned catchy.

However, despite the comparisons from “Suit and Tie” and the “Tunnel Vision” video, “Take Back The Night” does not remind me of typical Robin Thicke at all. Maybe I’ll like part two of 20/20 better. I normally do like one disc of a double album much better. “Take Back The Night” is still longer than traditional pop songs, but it is a better lead single than “Suit and Tie”. “Take Back The Night” has the horns from part one, but also a more club feel to match the title. That is a mix I can definitely appreciate.

After six years of silence, Justin Timberlake has been everywhere this year. He had massive promotion for The 20/20 Experience, including several commercials and a week on Jimmy Fallon. It turns out the Jay Z being a feature on Suit and Tie was not the only collaboration he and Timberlake did. The lead single off of Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail is “Holy Grail,” which features Justin Timberlake. Between that release and “Take Back The Night,” Justin is all over the music scene this month. 2013 has been a major re-emergence for him. Did you like the first part of The 20/20 Experience and will you be getting the second part next month?

I tried to post this to another blog I write for, but it wasn't accepted. :(

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