Review written by Brad W. (@Brad_C_Williams).

It seems as if every year one artist produces an album that defines the listeners and musical appeal of the time. In 2010, Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy not only ushered in Ye’s reemergence but challenged the boundaries of “conventional” hip-hop. 2011 was Adele‘s year, and very deservedly so, dominating in all categories possible with her dominant and soulful songs on 21. Can anyone challenge that in 2012, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean did not come out on top? When we reminisce upon 2013 in nine month’s, I believe Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience will characterize the overall sensation of the year.

Before the album was officially released on March 19th, 2013, Justin Timberlake and his management geniusly crafted an advertisement campaign that captivated listens of all genres of music to anticipate his latest release. In an era where album release dates are pushed around repeatedly and sporadically (enter Chris Brown joke here), I applaud Timberlake for waiting until late January to announce the album. Although The 20/20 Experience is only his third solo venture since his departure from N’SYNC, the fandum and buzz surrounding his return to music has been both astounding and magnanimous. Early buzz that the first single “Suit & Tie” would feature both parites of music’s royal family, Jay-Z and Beyonce, may not have been entirely accurate, but both “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors” functioned well as singles to garnish the much desired PR boost that contributed to its record-setting first week sales (roughly 960,000 units worldwide). A week before its release, iTunes’ exclusive right to stream the album swayed many to avoid torrenting the leaked album and rather purchase a copy to support Justin. What Justin has done in the last three months has not been seen since ‘Ye and Jigga managed to prevent Watch The Throne from leaking.

Before I begin breaking down the album I must get this off my chest. I feel as if I have to apologize for agreeing with Kanye, but I did not particularly enjoy Jay-Z’s verse on “Suit & Tie” and believe that it adds nothing to the style and swagger of the track.

For someone who was not a fan of his previous albums, or realized that he had been on a six year hiatus from music, I was pleasantly surprised with just how organic the album sounded. Timbaland‘s exclusive production on this 10-track project gives The 20/20 Experience a cohesive yet revitalized feel that pulls from contemporary, urban, and pop genres alike. The orchestral sample that commences “Pusher Love Girl” and inclusion of a brass trio on “Suit & Tie” added vibrancy and sophistication to Timberlake’s tonality. Each track, whether it is the futuristic animalism of “Don’t Hold The Wall” or the African tribalistic feel of “Let the Groove In,” fits well within the track itself and with the tracks surrounding it. The fluidity and attention to detail on this album  is impeccable and fully immerses listeners, distracting from the reality that most songs are upwards of five minutes.

From song to song, The 20/20 Experience offers a variety of concepts and directions that fully engross the sympathies of a diverse audience. “Pusher Love Girl,” “Spaceship Coupe,” and “That Girl” are modern odes to loved ones that incorporate Justin’s Tennessee charm and classical motifs with familiarly modern vibes. Similarly, “Suit & Tie,” “Don’t Hold The Wall,” and “Tunnel Vision” seductively call for females everywhere to lay aside their reservations and express their inner sexuality. The introspective nature of the final songs “Mirrors” and “Deep Blue Ocean” are unlike anything Justin has every tried to create, but the contemporary and experimental sounds of these tracks along with “Strawberry Bubblegum” work. It is both not Justin Timberlake and familiarly Justin Timberlake that makes each track so intriguing, or, 20/20 clarity.

Purchase Justin Timberlakes’s The 20/20 Experience via iTunes and let us know what you think in the comments!