Timbaland needs to shut up. The decision to use him and co-producer J-Roc was a wise one; their grooves are sleek and often superb; but he rarely, if ever, has anything poignant to add vocally. His signature ad-libs serve as not much more than a minor distraction made major because it happens too often. This is a Justin Timberlake album, after all, and though Timberlake is no master poet himself, he does have a pleasant singing voice and a knack for vocal melody. For comparison’s sake, since it would take an artist at least near Michael Jackson’s level to take the King Of Pop crown, you can call Justin Timberlake a modern-day Andy Gibb. Like Gibb, as creatively limited as it is, most of his songs have to do with girls and romance. In the case of this album, they all do.
Besides stealing Barry White’s music and emulating Prince’s falsetto, the set begins and ends with a random metaphor. The Love he has for his “baby” is a drug addiction. Their romantic getaway is a Blue Ocean Floor. Even Let The Groove Get In, a party anthem that simply encourages people to dance, is focused on “little mama”. It’s also built around an annoying party chant that’s abandoned for a much better 1970s-style floater about three-fourths in. Most of these songs make grand transformations at some point. That Girl, the skit-like intro of which throws things off a bit, isn’t much to look at and I don’t see anything special in Mirrors, but much of this 20-20 Experience, the title of which allows for such corny visual puns, is dazzling enough.
my rating : 3 of 5