Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience: PEOPLE’s Review

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience

updated 03/12/2013 AT 4:30 PM ET

originally published 03/12/2013 AT 7:00 AM ET

Let’s get right to it: Does Justin Timberlake’s comeback album live up to the near-impossible expectations?

Yes and no. If you are looking for this to be another Justified or FutureSex/LoveSounds, it’s not.

While those albums were more about instant-gratification pop, The 20/20 Experience – now streaming on iTunes ahead of its March 19 release – is the more challenging vision of an artist creating a cohesive work rather than a collection of singles.

Most songs stretch out for more than seven minutes, taking interesting twists and dissolving into cool codas that wouldn’t make the radio edits. With lush, layered arrangements – producer Timbaland is again behind the boards – topped off by Timberlake’s falsetto-kissed vocals, this is maybe the best sounding album you’ll hear all year.

It finds JT delving deeper into R&B: Just check out the Stylistics-style balladry of “Pusher Love Girl,” the Al Green moves of “That Girl” or the “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ”-tinged funk of “Let the Groove Get In.”


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