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12 March 2013, 15:50
Join Capital as we take a look at the third studio album release from the 'SexyBack' star.
Justin Timberlake surprised the world back in January when he confirmed that after a seven year break he was returning with a new studio album.
The 'What Goes Around' singer's return to music marked a huge milestone in the music calendar for 2013 and the singer let fans get their first chance to hear the record this week - with a free stream on iTunes.
The album includes comeback single 'Suit & Tie', which features rapper Jay-Z, as well as recent Vodafone Big Top 40 chart topper 'Mirrors'.
Explaining the reason behind the title, Justin revealed how it was a passing comment from a friend who was listening to the songs and said they thought it was "music you could see" - that gave him the idea for 'The 20/20 Experience'.
He's also offered teasers of what to expect during his live performances at the Grammy Awards and at his own solo shows in London and Hollywood this year.
Check out Capital's track-by-track guide to Justin Timberlake's new album 'The 20/20 Experience' below:
With a string quartet straight out of the greatest Bond themes, Justin marks the perfect introduction into his latest style change. A crooning and charming gentleman has returned from the sultry and sexy character we saw back in 2007. The track shows the maturer elements of his sound - which are a theme throughout the record - and deliver a sense that the fresh-faced, back-flipping, curly-haired kid in those N*Sync videos may be long gone and a simple falsetto can deliver the same smile as something straight out of Louis Smith's locker.
It was the song that marked the singer's return to music at the start of 2013 and offered the first taste of his new partnership in music alongside Jay-Z. The song may have come under fire from the likes of Kanye West recently but its playful lyrics and smart production from Timbaland gave fans a sense of what was to come. "Stop, let me get a good look at it. Oh, so thick, now I know why they call it a fatty," he sings during the second verse as he pays tribute to the female form and shows no signs of masking his cheekiness with the line "let me show you a few things." All that's missing is the wink to camera.
Timbaland's influence is evident again on the third track 'Don't Hold The Wall' and anyone familiar with his work with Missy Elliot will sense a nod to the days of 'Get Your Freak On' in the backing beat. Justin's confidence comes to the fore as he sets his sights on someone who he simply instructs to "dance". "I heard your girlfriend tell you, you could do better. Well I'm the best ever," he sings. If 'Little Pusher Love Girl' was the grand ballroom this feels like the seedy nightclub where anything could happen.
You'd be forgiven for thinking 'Was that Barry White's voice?' at the beginning of the track as Justin makes an ode to the finer things in life. He remembers that moment she said "Hey hey hey, smacking that Strawberry Bubblegum," and wants this lady to stay the same. It's the flirty change of pace which comes towards the end of the track that also commands attention as he sings "you're delicious on your own".
The song echoes the rhythm's of Justin's 2007 collaboration with 50 Cent on 'Ayo Technology' and opens with the cries: "I know you lie" with the singer confessing that despite a "million people around" he has eyes for one person only. The track sees Justin opening up his feelings as the flirtation which came in the previous track is pushed aside for a more honest approach. Also, look out for the beat-boxing skills and foreboding horns at the climax of the track.
"Everyone's looking for the flyest thing to say but I just wanna fly away with you," Justin sings as he reverts to the smooth crooner we met in the first two tracks. "And with the top down we'll cruise around land and make love on the moon," he reveals as his ambitions become even clearer than those "special tinted" windows in the spaceship he refers to.
JT and the Tennessee Kids are introduced in radio-style formalities at the start of a song which proves Justin got the girl in the end. "I'm in love with that girl and she told me, she's in love with me," he proclaims in one of the most uplifting and charismatic moments on the album. He could also be seen to take a pop at the media and the over-opinionated nature of individuals. "Don't it seem like these days, that everybody's got something to say. But I don't pay attention to the talk baby."
Latino style beats stand strong as Justin leads the charge into one of his most self-assured sounding songs to date. His message is clear and if 2002's 'Señorita' was the poised kid at the front of the class - this is the steamroller that came running through and built a University. The repetition of the song's hook also feels like 2013's answer to Michael Jackson's "Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-ku-sa" from 'Wannabee Startin' Something'.
The song gave Justin his first UK number one single since 'SexyBack' in 2006 and was premiered at the BRIT Awards 2013. The US star stole the show with his performance and he's been sitting pretty at the top of the iTunes chart ever since. The track has been compared to 'Cry Me A River', albeit with a less somber tone and is believed to be inspired by his wife Jessica Biel. The breakdown into "You are the love of my life," would make those suspicions gather even greater weight and is the longest track on the album.
It's the most tender moment on the album and one that truly showcases why he was set for stardom all those years ago on the Mickey Mouse club. His impressive vocals also answer any of those questions he was faced with in recent years after diving into the acting world. Can he still make music? Does he still sing? The track, and indeed the entire album delivers the most awakening "yes" and slap in the face to those who ever questioned his musical integrity and ability.
Justin Timberlake's new album 'The 20/20 Experience' is released on 18th March.