Justin Timberlake’s third album was much anticipated and,  from what I read, not quite up to the task.  But how could it be?  Having to follow up Future Sex/Love Sounds is hard enough; taking six years between albums while expectations build beyond what is feasible doesn’t help either.  With both factors against him, I have to say Justin delivered…even though apparently, this is just stage one.

With 10 tracks taking around 70 minutes, even a devoted fan of Timberlake will be a bit exasperated.  I bought the 20/20 experience as well as Future Sex/Love Sounds on their respective release dates, but this time around I got antsy before the last song finished.  I was such a huge fan of songs like Lovestoned and What Goes Around Come Around, but while the epic, two-part, 7 minute motif worked the first time around, this time it wasn’t consistently engaging enough to justify an whole album full of it.


That being said, the melodies are as catchy as ever, and the classic Timbaland touch on production delivers music that lives up to the idea behind the albums title: “Music you can see”.  Pusher Love Girl  seems to glance back at a simple, spacey song layout long lost in pop music in favor of extreme synths and constant noises and builds.  Don’t Hold the Wall, Strawberry Bubblegum and Tunnel Vision all feature heavenly layers of drums and vocals, the first of which begins with an a capella intro that brought a smile to my weary soul.  Whether it is from his days in N’Sync or from his soul influences, Justin knows better than most artists how to use his own voice to create the kind of ambience and soul that no synthesizer could ever replace.


Unfortunately, those are the tracks (besides Suit and Tie) that get all my attention.  Mirrors  never quite hit me as the smash hit it was made out to be (except for the last part of the music video…I have watched those last two minutes more than I have listened to the rest of the song).  And Blue Ocean Floor is extremely intriguing, though with this and the other Timberlake albums, lyrics have never been anything to ponder.


That being said, I am glad I bought this album, and I will be pre-ordering part two, whenever he deems it ready for the world.   And in honor of the man who has brought me so much musical inspiration over the years, I decided to cover one of his new tracks…enjoy.