★★★☆☆
Three Stars

Okay, I’ll admit it. I read the words Justin Timberlake and made an oestrogen fuelled leap towards reviewing his newly released album The 20/20 Experience.  As we all know, the 32 year old JT is no longer the curly headed boy of Nsync fame, and is now a sophisticated, hilarious (just check out his most recent stint with The Lonely Island and Beyoncé) and married (if you listen very closely you can hear the soft cries of women everywhere) man.

I have to promise it is not just out of pre-conditioned bias, then, that I say that the album has, for the most part, a pretty awesome sound. Justin’s unmistakable suave falsetto is back after seven years, and it melts into every track. Take the third song of the album ‘Don’t Hold the Wall; with its slow seductive rhythms and the sounds of cicadas, you can picture yourself in a sultry, seedy Spanish bar.

There’s even something for the men out there. Take a listen to ‘Suit and Tie’, if you haven’t already. If that doesn’t make you feel like a true smooth, polished, lady-killer whilst getting ready for formal, I don’t know what will.

HOWEVER, I have to admit that Justin becomes a little self-indulgent here, and will insist on stretching out an otherwise alright track in an attempt to make it some kind of masterpiece. For example, the first track, ‘Pusher Love Girl is 8:02 minutes long, and ends in about 3 minutes of Justin singing ‘I’m just a junkie for your love’ over 6 notes, ad nauseum. I went to make myself a cup of tea, which I’m pretty sure I can’t do in a club.

Also it seems there is no real consistent theme to the whole thing, other than the typical Justin style, even after a whole 1 hour 19 minutes of intense listening and waiting. So, other than the highlight tracks of the album, which are pretty much over by the 4th song, you are somewhat left with a big jumper for Christmas instead of the Xbox you were really secretly hoping to get for the last seven years.

Maybe more exciting stuff will come in the second part of the album which will be released later this year, but I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat.

But if you ask me, even if no adventurous leaps have been made by him now even after such a long hiatus from producing solo work, that’s no different to any other mainstream recording artist I’ve heard recently. And compared to the rest of them, who consistently churn out the same fast, meaningless, lyricless beats that are personally reserved only for pre-drink fuelled Wahoo, it’s nice to have something you won’t be embarrassed to come on shuffle on your iTunes.

And let’s be honest. Even if it’s the same old Christmas jumper, the same old JT sounds and feel, that’s what we’ve always loved, and I wouldn’t change it. I just wish it was a bit shorter that’s all.