The 20/20 Experience

Review Roundup: Justin Timberlake – ‘The 20/20 Experience’

It’s been over six years since Justin Timberlake released his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds. Since then, the 32-year-old singer has remained focused on his acting career and personal life, marrying Jessica Biel last year.

Now he returns to his first love, music, with his third album, The 20/20 Experience, which can be streamed on iTunes. The Grammy winner reunites with Timbaland, who produced all 10 tracks, while his “Legends of the Summer” tourmate Jay-Z appears on the lead single “Suit & Tie.”

Was it worth the wait? Find out what the critics had to say about J.T.’s comeback.

Rolling Stone: The 20/20 Experience is the biggest pop event of 2013 so far, but it’s not quite a pop album. Its sense of musical space-time is more elastic and sprawling than anything on the radio. 4/5

Entertainment Weekly: The best thing here is “Let the Groove Get In,” which builds from African hand-drum rhythms to a classic Michael Jackson jam, circa Off the Wall. B

USA Today: The driving duo’s basic approach remains one of touching up old-school textures with modern production values. Funky horns and soulful strings are everywhere—acting as rhythm instruments on the effervescent, gorgeously textured “Let the Groove Get In,” which recalls Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ giddier classics. 3/4

New York Daily News: He Fred Astaires his way through these tracks, dancing over their melody with the air of an acrobat. It all serves the persona he has adopted and, by now, perfected—a lover able to balance a boyish eagerness with a manly talent. 4/5

People: 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. 4/5

Chicago Sun-Times: Timberlake’s outing is promising, though the full delivery of that promise requires patience and repeated listening. This album’s a grower, not a shower. 2.5/4

Los Angeles Times: But it’s been long enough since he identified as a working musician that The 20/20 Experience feels like an attempt to reclaim Timberlake’s space in a deeply altered landscape; it makes a play for timelessness at a moment of unabashed ephemerality. 3/4

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Don’t Hold the Wall,” “Let the Groove In,” “Mirrors”