The 20/20 Experience - Justin Timberlake
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 205 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 205

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  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 and R&B is supposed to be. Should be hailed as the classic it is in a few years.
  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 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. Expand
  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. The more I listen the better it get's, that's how I know it'll be in my rotation for a while.
  4. Mar 19, 2013
    8
    It's not an album that you will enjoy it immediately (the layouts are even more unusual in here compared to his last album and, of course, most of the songs are 5 to 10 minutes long) but once you gave it two or three listens, most of the songs start to get stuck in your head. I would say Mirrors and Tunnel Vision are the songs that doesn't take too long to like because they're not that unusual. Mirrors is reminding people of Cry Me A River, but it's definitely a better, mature song, dedicated to his wife. Tunnel Vision's beat somehow reminds me of Ayo Technology here and there, but it's way more effective with a beat so addictive that could actually turn this song into a radio-hit if edited to a shorter version. Suit and Tie was his first single, which had mixed reviews at first but most of people actually ended up enjoying it days later, demonstrates exactly what to expect in this album: songs that doesn't sound like modern pop/r&b and more like a classic r&b/neo-soul album, thing that it's likely to disappoint a lot of fans at first but believe me, give it the proper listen it deserves and it will grow on you somehow. Not all the songs are great but most of them are likely to make you repeat them over and over again for a couple a days. Also, I have to point out the last album's song, Blue Ocean Floor. This is the track that I absolutely think most people will fall in love with in the whole album. It cans sound a little weird at first because we are not used to ballads and ultra-serene sounds in Timberlake's albums but those ballads and serene, abstract sounds along with his best showcase of his impressive, inspired vocals to date make for what is with no doubt the best, most memorable song of his new album and even one of the best of his career, simply because it is extremely powerful and shows how much JB has become a mature person in these 7 years out of the music industry, and men, if those 7 year's weren't worth the wait... Expand
  5. Mar 19, 2013
    9
    Best pop/r&b album I've heard in years,amazing production. Timberlake also proves he is a great vocalist.
    What need to be strengthened is the lyrics.
  6. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    After seven years years of SNL and acting (and doing a good job at it as well.) Justin Timberlake has returned and he did it in grand fashion. When I first heard about JT's new album I was very excited. Then I heard Suit & Tie I liked it, but didn't love it. I heard Mirrors a week later and I fell I was even more pumped. I was hoping more songs would be like Mirrors rather than Suit & Tie. Now that the album is released the kinds of music are split. The tracks that truly stand out are "Pusher Love Girl, Suit & Tie, Strawberry Bubblegum, That Girl, Mirrors and Blue Ocean Floor." The rest are good tracks, but they just didn't wow me, like the ones I mentioned. To choose the best track would be hard because I have a tie between Mirrors & Blue Ocean Floor. I would have to choose Mirrors because it has more of a "hit" quality. Overall the album is really good, It has radio quality even though they are mostly seven minutes long. The radio will just cut some parts of the songs though. Justin Timberlake has announced that he will release another album later this year, I hope it will be as equal or even better than this one. I just hope it will have more songs that are shorter. Expand
  7. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    For all the JT fans that associate him to his 'Cry Me A River' days, this record is going to be a little too hard to soak in... for a while. After that, it's going to be the best thing they've ever heard. It's a record that needs time to grow on you. Once you listen to it a few times, you'll automatically find the music a breath of fresh air. We're surrounded by the music by the likes of Rihanna, Drake, Jay Z, Usher, etc. The music of theirs is almost the same, with a few exceptions. This album is different, just like 'FutureSex/LoveSounds' was, when it released in 2006.

    This is a great album and with time, it'll grow on you. A masterpiece, it is, for me. Kudos to JT and Timbaland and I can't wait for the 2nd Volume to the album, coming out in November, this year.

    Cheers.
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  8. Mar 19, 2013
    7
    Downloaded this with my zune music pass and I'm disappointed but it's still a decent album.
    Just expected more, most of the songs sound the same except for a 1 or 2 tracks
  9. Mar 20, 2013
    10
    I used to snicker at the mention of Justin Timberlake's name. But the N*SYNC days are long gone now and a new JT is here. A JT that borrows without stealing from MJ's "Wanna Be Startin' Something" to create a 7-minute oriental epic who's lyrics are basically the chorus sung over and over again but still works marvellously. He was even able to compose some fantastic songs written around pretty terrible/overused concepts: love drug in Pusher Love Girl or Strawberry Bubblegum which really is an ode to his wife's vagina. The weakest song on here might actually be the first single, Suit & Tie, but it is still an above-average piece of work. Of course Timberlake is back but so is Timbaland, the mastermind behind FutureSex/LoveSounds who had since fell of. He is at the top of his game, using without overusing his signature ad-libs on Don't Hold The Wall, one of the real standouts of The 20/20 Experience and producing most of the songs without using samples. He even gets a verse on the bonus track "Dress On". Both bonuses are welcome additions, however, they do not really fit in with the rest of the album and it is understandable that they were left out. "Body Count" has a Justified vibe to it which I am sure will please a lot of his earlier fans.
    I really recommend you pick this album up. I barely ever buy CD's and after listening to it on iTunes, I actually went out of my way to pick up the deluxe version of it. The last time I did that was for Channel Orange. This is a similarly enjoyable album.
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  10. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    This album is awesome; if this is the direction pop music is headed, then bring it on. Although it does drag just a bit at the end, it flows and stays in its groove without getting too terribly long-winded. The beats are on point (classic Timbaland), while the rest of the music does well taking cues from the likes of Prince and the Temps. The accompaniment really accent Justin's vocal parts, which ultimately shine through and are especially intriguing in harmony with each other. Overall a 9.5 for sure; a versatile display of old soul influences and the future of (good) pop music. Expand
  11. Mar 21, 2013
    5
    Alright Justin, you've got some balls on you. I cannot help respecting what Justin Timberlake has done in making The 20/20 Experience. Let us not forget that he's still one of the biggest names in pop music regardless of the time he's had off just look at the amount of hype the album has received: he’s managed to make the cover of naff tween magazines and the front cover of Pitchfork during the same media frenzy. Yet, he comes back with a pop album made up of ten tracks which average out at seven minutes each. The shortest track is nearly five minutes long, which is kind of remarkable in that he could be so adventurous and bold when he could have played the safe card after such a long solo absence. As a decision, I can take it and admire it for what it is, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy the decision exactly. See, while the most interesting aspect of the album is the fact that Timberlake hasn't exactly played it safe, it’s also that decision which has made the album a wholly unsatisfying one.

    I have to admit that I really admire The 20/20 Experience as an album and I really admire Justin Timberlake as an artist for embarking on a project that carries a sense of risk and an enormous amount of pressure with it. On the whole The 20/20 Experience is a bold piece of work that, for the most part, displays some of Justin's more adventurous desires when it comes to creating concepts and songs themselves there's some excellent choruses on here and I've come away humming a few of the more obvious future singles. But in the end it leaves Justin sounding a little too full of himself and too involved in the ideas he's clearly had lots of since he started writing this album. Most of the album's tracks should end a good three or four minutes before they do (none of the tracks warrant even being 6 minutes long, never mind 8 minutes) and Justin rarely displays a sense of restraint or ability to know when to just knock out an idea quickly and leave a lasting mark, like he used to in the beginning of his solo career, but there are enough of pop’s most traditional and effective qualities on show to at least make 20/20 enjoyable for the most part. You've got to give credit to Justin for trying something like this, and credit to him for showing slightly more ambition to branch out, but sometimes creases need ironing more than once.
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  12. Mar 22, 2013
    2
    First let me say I am a big JT fan. After 7 years i was expecting something that would blow me away but apart from the obviously excellent production values, the vast majority of the album is middling R&B.
    I was actually laughing at the banality of some of the Lyrics. Apart from the last song there was not a single track that made me want to actually get up and dance. I don't see where
    the hits are going to come from apart from the last track. Well produced but safe and boring R&B. Perhaps the happy married life has robbed him of the sexy, funky, creative edge his previous albums were known for. Romantic, bland mush that I can only imagine would be popular with suburban white girls who claim to love R&B Expand
  13. Mar 19, 2013
    4
    After 7 years, the songs sound too familiar. Timbaland's production really hasn't changed much. Justin maybe growing as an artist, but his songs are not what I expected after the long wait between albums. You can see his focus is more on being an Actor now.

    The songs are way too long. It worked on the Future Sex/ Love Sounds album since they were technically two songs. On 20/20, the end
    of certain songs felt unnecessarily extended. Lyrics are quite poor for a veteran of pop songs. Some lyrics just don't work with what he's trying to portray, but I understand this will album will be universally accepted since we need some Pop 'savior'. Expand
  14. Apr 3, 2013
    9
    I enjoyed this album completely. It is exactly what I envisioned the album to be after his release of Suit and Tie and you can truly hear the effort that JT has put towards this album as nearly all the songs (except three) are about 8 minutes long a true experience. I'm still figuring out whether the continued collaboration between Timbaland and Timberlake is a positive or a negative aspect of the production as it is very similar to JT's previous albums but then again why stop an amazing pair simply because it is expected? My favourite song on this record is possibly Strawberry Bubblegum it's composition and styling is reminiscent of Sade with the "mellow" lyrics and tone. I can truly see this album winning Best Album in the Grammy's 2014 or maybe I am speaking to soon... Expand
  15. Mar 19, 2013
    5
    good and nice album but very disappointed because its not good as i thought after waiting 7 years
    and most tracks r over 7 minutes so how can it be on radio and has the success that deserve
    i was thinking it will be the best album in 2013 but i think it will be too hard to acheive that
  16. Mar 23, 2013
    10
    DIS DA SWAG BOMB OF 2013 DIS BOI NOW HOW TO PLAY DA VIOLIN HA HA SWAG LVL 42 OH YEAH DIS BOI KNOW IT HA HA YEAH JT U BRING DA SEXY BAK HEHE
    In all seriousness this album is pretty damn good, giving fantastic emotional R&B rhythm in every song.
  17. Apr 3, 2013
    10
    What makes me angry is when I see all these reviews just bashing the CD and comparing him to other artists who have came out 15 years later and just keep saying the songs are too long, when really he has a diverse album in which he showcases his range and his creativeness...and for anyone who saw his Future Sex/Love Show, the long songs that switch beat over half way through will be a part where he showcases his smooth dancing at the concert swooning the ladies. Love the "big band feel" that you hear in Pusher Love Girl, Suit & Tie, and That Girl. Then you have songs like Let the Groove Get In which reminds me a little of Rock Your Body. Its the equivalent on this CD. My two personal favorites are Strawberry Bubblegum and Spaceship Coupe which have gotten some knocks for the lyrics being cheesy but the songs are so smooth and although they're slower songs they got a little step to em thatll make you nod your head (with Spaceship Coupe being more upbeat). Blue Ocean floor is by far the slowest song but its also the deepest song on the CD really making you think with its lyrics. It's comparable to FutureSexLoveSound's Losing My Way, but you can definitely hear the growth of JT in this song. Tunnel Vision a fast upbeat exciting song that transition with Timbaland beat boxing and some hard beats then goes soft and then picks back up. The song is a smooth rollercoaster. I dont even need to say anything about Mirrors its just an awesome song...I mean overall it's a great CD. And if you get Target's exclusive CD you also get Body Count and Dress On which are two nice additions. I think overall (including those last two songs which brings the song total to 12 songs) I could listen to 9 songs on repeat and they would never get old. It's got a nice mix of upbeat and slow. old school sound and new school sound, and I think its a great CD. On a scale of 1-100, I'd give it a 94. Definitely solid Expand
  18. Jul 21, 2013
    8
    Some tracks aren't very distinctive whilst others stand out as classical and catchy tunes. Justin's return to the music industry is astounding considering his last album was so long ago.
  19. Sep 3, 2013
    8
    After all these year, JT has come back and dominated the airwaves, making sure to produce songs that get played over the radios ever 36 minutes on average. and might i say, great job for giving us a great album. nothing is as it seems in this voyage to the human heart. but what should we expect?
  20. Sep 11, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The new "neo-soul" style in the album is the most thing that kept me hooked to the record. We don't have ex-musketeers tha will be ruling the charts and getting critical acclaim. Well we have them [Britney Spears, Justin Timeberlake and Christina Aguilera] and this album shows that JT is the supreme. Absolute masterpiece. Expand
  21. Sep 6, 2013
    8
    A long, elaborate, almost intricate album. At a first listen it would seem basically devoid of hit singles, but it is only because Timberlake pushes the boundaries of pop music, striving for longer songs (8 tracks are over seven minutes long) and delivering less immediate melodies. But radio edits prove that at the heart of every song in The 20/20 Experience there is a smash hit. Timberlake's vocal performance is gracious as usual, so inspired he sounds like he's actually dancing. The only fault is that sometimes the transitions between different moments in a song are not smooth, but there is well over an hour of continuous enjoyment. Expand
  22. Jul 30, 2013
    10
    Like fine wine, this album gets better with time. It's 2013's masterpiece! The tracks are all co-written by Justin and produced by Timbaland. The music is very instrumental...classical yet modern. The album is like a modern day Frank Sinatra meets JT. Women love this album, just so you guys know. Every track has a place on this album from the fantastic opening of Pusher Love Girl down to the Blue Ocean Floor. I was amazed with the sound and tones of each track. This album is damn near perfect. Note: This album is for lovers of R&B/Soul music not EDM or bubblegum pop. Collapse
  23. Jun 19, 2013
    9
    By far his best work yet. The 20/20 Experience returns us to the groovy, poppy, sounds that we heard from FutureSex/LoveSounds, with the addition of some more classic R&B tones and influences that I personal was pleasantly surprised to hear.
  24. Jun 4, 2013
    9
    Incredible album filled with fantastic awesomeness. Okay, that's not a good way to start a review. But it's true. It stars with the magic "Pusher Love Girl", flows with the hit single "Suit & Tie", gets a little messy with "Don't Hold the Wall", romantic with "Strawberry Bubblegum", extraordinary with "Tunnel Vision", magical with "Spaceship Coupe", groovy with "That Girl", annoying (but catchy) with "Let the Groove Get In", deep with "Mirrors" and beautiful with "Blue Ocean Floor". The only thing missing here is a dance pop song. But that obviously was not the goal. Expand
  25. Mar 22, 2013
    9
    I'm glad to see JT after 7 long years. I was long waiting for an album and he didn't fail to deliver. The songs are catchy and addictive and Timbaland's production is also good. So, overall this album is worth listening to.
  26. Oct 4, 2013
    8
    This is the best and his most matured album that Justin Timberlake ever made.
    The lenghtly songs of the album made everyone had their eyebrows raised because nobody listens to very long songs. But, it seems like the lenghtly songs made every listener's time worth it.
    The tracklist is perfect, from the perfect opener, "Pusher Love Girl" to the perfect closer, "Blue Ocean Floor", it's like
    you're listening to the soundtrack of a Hollywood classic.
    The only song that was a miss is "Let the Groove In", which I felt like its somehow upbeat Latin tune is a bit out of place from this album.
    The lyrics may be mediocre but the sophisticated production backs it up perfectly.
    Timbaland's catchy back-up vocals and JT's amazing voice made this album very catchy as its own right.
    Let's not forget how JT learned from producing other songs for other artists with Timbaland and puts everything that he learned into this album.
    This ambitiously made album is a perfect album to buy for any fan and any non-fan who would proudly say that they're glad to buy this album.
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  27. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    A seriously good album considering his long absence. Could be the best pop album of the year, JT throw away his old R'n'B style and reinvent himself on this LP. Most of the tracks are long and few of them feels rather lengthy, making the highs and lows of the album more apparent. But still, mostly highs, mostly highs. Highlight tracks: Mirrors, Suit & Tie, Blue Ocean Floor, Strawberry Bubblegum
  28. Mar 19, 2013
    6
    I am not a big fan of JT, although I do think he is talented. I was anxious to hear a new album from him since it had been so long between releases. And, let me say this- it sounds dated. Ultra-electronica sounding (which Usher did late last year). Not that JT's voice is to blame, but I think the producer is where to point the finger. Timaland was the producer and he hasn't made anything good since MIssy Elliot. Additonally the material/subject is nothing extraordinary (which is disappointing) and each song is 7 minutes long leaving a casual fan like me to skip to the next track. Glad I didn't spend money on this. LOL. Expand
  29. May 31, 2013
    7
    This album’s best aspects for the most part are the production & singing. Musically it goes in a fairly diverse amount of territories on the pop spectrum. It ranges from old-school horn/guitar-driven R&B to the modern electronically-tinged interpretations of R&B that was practically the trademark sound of his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds to some more worldly styles that incorporate tribal rhythm sections & mantra-like chant choruses that go on for a good majority of the song, to the minimalist closer Blue Ocean Floor that defies pop structure by running on solely a looped & seemingly backmasked keyboard part, creating an appropriately vast & subdued atmosphere for the beautifully sentimental lyrics about dedication to your significant other. This is one advantage 20/20 has over FS/LS; its ambitious & diverse (by pop album standards) instrumentation makes things a bit more sonically interesting from track to track in addition to the knack for great earworm hooks that has been a constant positive throughout JT’s career, whereas in the past, with a couple exceptions his work has been pop music through-and-through. On the mixed side of things, the lyrics are very hit-and-miss.They’re pretty much all about love (surprise surprise) though in a generally more mature direction than in the past; more ClassyBack than SexyBack. The thing is that the way these more sentimental ideas come across differs in success from track to track. Some tracks that pull this off exceptionally well include Mirrors & Tunnel Vision. The former is a very well-crafted & sincere affirmation that he and his significant other are perfect for each other and meant to last, playing on the term “better half” & tweaking the metaphor a bit. It’s basically this album’s My Love, except it sounds a little less made-for-radio while never losing its accessibility. The latter takes on a similar concept but focuses in more on the devoted & slightly obsessive side of things. It can get a bit cheesy in a couple lines but in comes off endearing rather than cringeworthy. Now if only that’d be the case with some of the other songs here... Some songs like Pusher Love Girl or Spaceship Coupe do nothing more than beat a bad metaphor (drugs & outer space respectively) into the ground until it’s reduced to dust. Heck, Pusher can’t even stay consistent; is the girl the drug or the dealer or it that actually JT that’s one of those things or what? Meanwhile Coupe devolves into replicating the lower points of FutureSex/LoveSounds, throwing out nothing but corny space-sex jokes. And while Strawberry Bubblegum doesn’t beat the titular concept entirely into the ground (in fact containing some pretty good lyrics), it’s still in the same ballpark of metaphoric lameness. It’s further amplified by the facepalm-inducing intro, which for 40 seconds beats into your skull that the song is “dedicated to you” like JT’s for some reason still pandering to the boy-band fangirl demo. It seems that on 20/20, lyrics can only work if they’re one of 2 extremes: the heart-pouring ballads & the lighthearted good-time songs. The songs in this category would include the uplifting & optimistic Don’t Hold the Wall, the dancey, fun & lyrically simple Let the Groove Get In (which like people have been saying sounds a lot like Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Something, but not to the point of ripoff in my opinion) & the suave, sophisticated ode to high-class attire Suit & Tie. When Suit & Tie was released as the first single I was pleasantly surprised (since this was from before I really got into his work), even if it was a bit flawed. Namely in the awful-sounding intro & as well as the meandering & unnecessary verse from Jay-Z. On repeated listens I found a couple cool lines in there, but I definitely would have shortened it. Plus there’s a couple lines in the second verse of the song (Stop, lemme get a good look at it So thick, now I know why they call it a fatty) that just irk me. Is he talking about drugs? His girl’s butt? Either way it’s a bit out of place in an otherwise very mature song. Easily the biggest problem in this album though is the song lengths. Since FS/LS for some reason JT’s had this odd obsession with outros & interludes. And sometimes, like on What Goes Around Comes Around, it works really well, adding sort of a new dimension to the song & giving it more personality & presence. Other times though it just feels tacked on for no reason other than to seem more ambitious a musician than he really is. Unfortunately for the most part this strategy just doesn’t work. It usually falls into at least one of a number of outcomes; either it tacks on practically a remix of the same song, repeats the same 1 or 2 lines for 4 minutes, or just stays on the same groove for WAY too long. Still despite these gripes, JT's in fine form here. He just needs to learn to focus more on his strengths. 70/100 Expand
  30. Jul 4, 2013
    9
    Timberlake has set the bar for every album left to come out in 2013. The production that has been handled by Timbaland is almost flawless and Timberlake's vocals flow smoothly with the beat of each song. All in all, the album is a great listen and has many potential hit songs.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  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. 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.
  3. 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.