The 20/20 Experience

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The 20/20 Experience Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 265 Ratings

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  • Summary: The third solo release for the pop singer is his first in nearly seven years and was produced by Timbaland (two tracks with Timberlake and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Mar 15, 2013
    75
    Timberlake is reminding us that as quickly as music moves today, great style persists.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 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. Collapse
  2. May 4, 2015
    10
    whtfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllwhtfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Expand
  3. 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.
  4. Mar 20, 2013
    8
    The ultimate love album. While the length of the album may seem a problem to some, Justin Timberlake does a fine job at making fine music.The ultimate love album. While the length of the album may seem a problem to some, Justin Timberlake does a fine job at making fine music. While better than his debut album, he falls just short of doing better than his last outing, "FutureSex/LoveSound". He starts the album out amazingly with "Pusher Love Girl" (which, by the way, should have been the albums first single instead of "Suit & Tie"). Then you get to Suit & Tie, which by now, is incredibly overplayed, but a still relatively good song, then you finish Track 5, "Tunnel Vision", which isn't that good, then you get to "Spaceship Coupe", which isn't that good either, but you start "That Girl" and "Let The Groove In" and all's forgiven. Then you hit the second single off this album, "Mirrors", and finish off with "Blue Ocean Floor". Aside from the two aforementioned tracks that weren't that good, this album is amazing. Relieving to hear from Justin Timberlake again. He's better suited making music, rather than starring in sub-par movies. I can't wait for Volume 2 of The 20/20 Experience when it comes out this Fall. Expand
  5. 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 TimberlakeA 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
  6. 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 theThis 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
  7. Aug 8, 2013
    0
    Dear Justin, I think you already released this album back in 2006, except that the songs were 4 min shorter and didn't drag. The 20/20 isDear Justin, I think you already released this album back in 2006, except that the songs were 4 min shorter and didn't drag. The 20/20 is nothing but an unbearable DRAG and defo not a sexy back. Quite unsexy, actually. Thank God for Spotify, didn’t have to waste money on this. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews