updated 09/30/2013 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/30/2013 AT 8:30 AM ET
Justin Timberlake had already cemented a killer comeback to the pop stratosphere with part 1 of The 20/20 Experience, which, since being released in March, has become the bestselling album of 2013.
So he didn’t need to do anything else but take his show on the road this year (his solo tour starts Oct. 31). But this sequel – recorded during the same sessions as the first installment, with the same producers (Timbaland and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon) – isn’t just the collection of leftovers that it could have been.
It stands as a stellar set in its own right. Although it can’t top its more challenging, cohesive predecessor – a few songs run too long, and a couple maybe could have been dropped – this more singles-driven disc actually has more to satisfy fans of Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds.
The latter, in particular, lives in the spacey beats of more uptempo tracks like “True Blood,” which takes “LoveStoned” into “Thriller” territory.
Other highlights include the two rap collaborations: the Drake-assisted “Cabaret,” with its swinging swagger, and “Murder,” a beast of a jam with Jay Z that slays both “Suit & Tie” and “Holy Grail.”
The freshest cut, though, is “Drink You Away,” a guitar-riffing, organ-rocking shot of heartbreak.