He's made us wait until the end of the year to listen to it, but has the follow-up to the first '20/20 Experience' been worth the wait?
Justin Timberlake triumphantly returned from his stint in Hollywood to reclaim his title as the reigning king of the pop world earlier this year when he released the widely-praised The 20/20 Experience Part 1. It's been six months since the March release of JT's first 2013 experience, and with that time he's been able to perfect each element of the album and fine tune it into potentially one of the best pop albums of the year. But before we can claim it as the release of 2013, what have the critics got to say about The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2?
Has Justin delivered with his follow-up 'experience'
The final verdict is hard to determine, as Justin has managed to split the critics into three categories; ones who say the album is an exceptional finish to what he started in March, some who say the album is a huge failure and a disappointment at that, and finally those who don't really know what to think, and are sat on the fence as to whether the album should be heralded or lampooned. The first 20/20 Experience had many strong points, but sometimes missed the mark and outran itself on a number of tracks, but it had few people claiming it was an instant classic bar a few notable songs. It looks as though this is the overwhelming verdict with part 2 as well, with critics mostly complaining that the album needed to trade some duds with a few bonafied pop hits to be considered a classic.
The Los Angeles Times comment in their review that sequel "comes on stronger than its ingratiating predecessor," on the whole, picking up a "darker, dirtier" sound that works in his favour. However, critic Mikael Wood did mention that in spite of the more prominent darker parts of the album, it is in it's lighter elements where the album really shines.
Jon Dolan of The Rolling Stone gave the album three and a half stars out of five, calling it "an experimental blockbuster" that benefits equally from JT's pop swagger and producer Timbaland's studio virtuosity. Meanwhile, The Observer's Hermoine Hoby commented that, overall, the album is "a tighter record than the first volume," but admitted that it was far from perfect. Citing him as a performer first and a musician second, Hoby added, "the best JT incarnation is the showman who knows he's performing, not the songwriter pretending he's emoting."
Justin fails to make much of a splash on 20/20E, 2o2
As for The Independent, critic Andy Gill gave the album only two stars, complaining that the quality of songs, "comprising...[of] outtakes from the sessions for The 20/20 Experience," is a considerably steep fall in quality compared to it's predecessor. The overwhelming complaint from Gill however was that the majority of the songs are just too long, and with a great number of the songs clocking in at over seven minutes, it is an understandable complaint.
For those of you who loved the album, or just love Justin, then you can catch him out on tour in support of the new album soon. Further details are available here.