The 20/20 Experience

  • Record Label: RCA
  • Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
Buy On
  1. This is the kind of record where everyone will have different favorite song, where what someone calls dull or overlong or indulgent will resonate perfectly with someone else, depending on that listener’s past musical tastes and experiences.
  2. Mar 19, 2013
    50
    A pleasant and grown but tedious release from a charismatic entertainer and exceptional vocal arranger who is not a great recording artist.
  3. Mar 15, 2013
    50
    Unfortunately, most of 20/20 falls into a rut; it sets the mood, but then fails to create tension.
  4. Frank Ocean might have a gutsier pen game–and Usher more moves and Miguel more sex appeal--but 20/20 is easier to fall into a groove with than any of the best contemporary pop/R&B albums out right now.
  5. Mar 12, 2013
    88
    One of the year's most anticipated pop releases is also one of the genre's weirdest--and most fully realized--efforts in ages.
  6. May 6, 2013
    80
    The result would be encyclopedia-thumbing pastiche if it weren’t all so carefully curated, and if the production wasn’t so intricately, lavishly produced that as each track stretches into the fifth or sixth or eighth minute it was not still revealing permutations, secrets, strange little surprises.
  7. 80
    20/20 succeeds because it’s groove-based, which is to say, it’s neither pop-based nor logic-based.
  8. Mar 20, 2013
    80
    Timberlake and Timbaland (Timbalake?) are at their best when they rely more on organic soul than samples.
  9. Mar 18, 2013
    70
    Whilst it in no way compares with the leap in ambition we saw between his first two albums, The 20/20 Experience is nonetheless another interesting inter-genre move, this time into alternative R&B and neo-soul.
  10. 75
    His basic sound adheres to the JT formula: golden falsetto, electro-R&B grooves, Motown horns, and other retro glitz that will seduce your mom.
  11. Mar 15, 2013
    70
    The issue is whether he's done enough to quench our R&B-infused pop sensibilities; he hasn't. The needle may have jumped a bit, but ultimately nothing here turns things over.
  12. Mar 18, 2013
    60
    It’s so clean, stylish and pleasant that few will rubbish it, so the spotlight is instead shone on select tracks whose impact is then over-stretched as they try to inject some gravitas into how fluffy it can be.
  13. Mar 18, 2013
    80
    The biggest success of The 20/20 Experience lies within Justin Timberlake being able to gracefully glide into Adult Contemporary Music without coming across as trite or cheesy. There is enough oomph for the youngins, yet a defined maturity that proves Timberlake’s overstanding of eventually aging out of the capricious sect of R&B.
  14. Mar 15, 2013
    75
    Timberlake is reminding us that as quickly as music moves today, great style persists.
  15. Mar 15, 2013
    80
    JT has again done a fine job here. The 20/20 Experience shows the pop album isn’t dead.
  16. While it’s a good listen, every song drags.
  17. Mar 22, 2013
    70
    The 20/20 Experience is an absolutely delicious guilty pleasure.
  18. Mar 21, 2013
    40
    It sounds like FutureSex, so you’ll desperately listen over and over hoping to replicate how that album made you feel and end up surrendering to its pleasant, sanitized soundscape. But you’ll feel nothing.
  19. Mar 19, 2013
    85
    Just like Futuresex before it, this innovative, sonically dazzling album sounds like it was beamed in from several years in the future—2020 sounds about right.
  20. Mar 21, 2013
    84
    20/20 is akin to another recent album that successfully teased-out excitement from satisfaction, Beyoncé's 4.
  21. Mar 18, 2013
    40
    Even the most hardened of cynics have to marvel at 20/20‘s sheer musical audacity, but at the end of the day, the individual songs fail to hold up to close scrutiny.
  22. Mar 20, 2013
    80
    There’s a cornucopia of sounds that definitely needs some time to be digested, but when it finally is--it’s an absolutely satisfying experience.
  23. 75
    20/20 is a total blast. You have to hand it to Justin Timberlake. Few pop artists have the skill and bravery to make such a stunning mess.
  24. Mar 12, 2013
    80
    The 20/20 Experience is both a return to form and a departure, deftly combining his trademark shape-shifting digital funk with a warmer, more organic sound.
  25. Mar 18, 2013
    50
    More often than not, The 20/20 Experience's either chameleonic or unfocused tracks speak poorly of an icon now constantly on the lookout for his next great cross-promotional opportunity.
  26. Mar 21, 2013
    80
    Many of the tracks conclude with two- or three-minute outros, but that's where The 20/20 Experience is often at its best.
  27. Apr 1, 2013
    90
    Justin is foremost an entertainer, and as is clear after about three tracks, The 20/20 Experience is hardly a vanity project; the songs are simply good enough that their length becomes an afterthought.
  28. Mar 18, 2013
    100
    As a complete package, The 20/20 Experience will surely be remembered as one of the first of what will hopefully become a trend in popular music of releasing challenging, experimental, and expertly written material.
  29. Mar 15, 2013
    94
    The main job of pop music--and this is where it so often fails--is making the same old tropes sound fresh, and Timberlake/Timbaland certainly do that here.
  30. Mar 19, 2013
    75
    The 20/20 Experience makes a lot of noise while saying very little of consequence. But that noise is the appeal, a luxurious blend of flashy production and pure, unadulterated chutzpah that deepens the hue and tenor of the album, turning it into an exercise in sophisticated sexiness--or perhaps sexy sophistication.
  31. Mar 14, 2013
    60
    The sound of The 20/20 Experience is complex, rich and rewarding.... Then there are the album's lyrics, which are awful.
  32. 80
    There's nothing too innovative about Timbaland's production, but it's probably as reliable a set of grooves as R&B will spawn this year, custom-tailored to carry the singer's gentle falsetto.
  33. It may not be as mind blowing as FutureSex. But, frankly, what is?
  34. 65
    The album itself doesn’t quite reach the sharp, perfect coherence that Timberlake was clearly aiming for.
  35. Mar 18, 2013
    80
    This Timberlake record may not boast as many rocket-propelled singles as before. But it finds the two Tims going back to the future without so much as a sideways glance at the rave-pop fashion.
  36. Mar 18, 2013
    50
    Unfortunately, with an appropriately filmic, best-part's-in-the-trailer irony, it seems like Timberlake gave away too much by making 'Suit & Tie' the first glimpse of the record. From hereon in, it's a fairly dull affair.
  37. Mar 15, 2013
    80
    It’s only once you can give this album a little time and space that you begin to realise that the low-slung 20/20 Experience is really a rather refreshing and assured kind of a sit-down.
  38. Mar 18, 2013
    50
    On 20/20, the Timberlake/Timbaland team seems content to set up a basic (and more often than not, bland) hook, repeat it ad infinitum, and tack on some superfluous bits until the desired, bloated end product comes into being.
  39. Apr 17, 2013
    75
    While it may be a little overlong at nearly an hour and a half, there are influences from 40-odd years of pop music expertly melted together by a master craftsman to create an album of consistently brilliant songs.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 307 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 71
  2. Negative: 5 out of 71
  1. Mar 19, 2013
    10
    Absolutely fantastic. Timberlake's signing is on point, the writing is amazing, the sulky production is also fantastic. This is what pop andAbsolutely fantastic. Timberlake's signing is on point, the writing is amazing, the sulky production is also fantastic. This is what pop and R&B is supposed to be. Should be hailed as the classic it is in a few years. Full Review »
  2. Mar 19, 2013
    10
    After 7 years, JT and Timbaland are back. Let me say they created a masterpiece of today (future) pop/R&B music. Yes, it's different, but itAfter 7 years, JT and Timbaland are back. Let me say they created a masterpiece of today (future) pop/R&B music. Yes, it's different, but it had to be after FutureSex/LoveSounds. This album has only 10 tracks, but it's long enough (7 minutes long tracks are standard). Most of the time is this album ingenious (multilayered sound and lyrics). One listen is not enough to reveal all the hidden treasures. Maybe it wil become the classic, maybe not, but I hope it does. Full Review »
  3. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    Great album, it may be the best album of the year. It's nice to see someone put the time and effort into making a song longer than 3 minutes.Great album, it may be the best album of the year. It's nice to see someone put the time and effort into making a song longer than 3 minutes. The more I listen the better it get's, that's how I know it'll be in my rotation for a while. Full Review »