Album Review – The 20/20 Experience Part 1 of 2

Since the success of his second solo album in 2006, FutureSex, LoveSounds,  fans of Justin Timberlake have eagerly awaited for more of his smooth voice over Timbalands grammy-winning beats. And for a while it seemed as if he had put down the microphone to try his hand at acting. Many fans even spoke out, urging him to make music again. Now, after seven years, JT and Timbaland have done it again with The 20/20 Experience Part 1 of 2.

This album features 10 songs, with an additional two on the deluxe version, and it exemplifies quality over quantity. It has the usual ingredients expected from Justin, such as well produced beats and subtly provocative lyrics, but on the first playthrough, it is obviously a more mature sound than his previous albums. There is a nice blend of orchestra and beat machines in the opening track, Pusher Love Girl, which, like the title alludes, compares a woman to drugs and its usage. Influences of samba can be found on Let The Groove Get In, and then much like many JT songs, it transforms into something new, while still maintaining its original melody.

Suit and Tie, featuring Jay-Z, was at first my least favorite song on the album. There was something about the sound that was so new to my ears that I couldn’t process it at first. It is smooth, yet at the same time booming with bass. After listening to the album multiple ties, I’ve found myself excited to hear it come on next and singing along. It grows on you, and stays on you. In fact, the entire album grows on you and slowly goes from good to great. One of the strongest tracks is Mirrors, which is soul-bearing story with a sentimental hook and a memorable chorus. After five and a half minutes, it transforms into a repetitive confession, slowly turning down the energy of the album.

The 20/20 Experience Part 1 of 2 is soulful, jazzy and catchy with futuristic beats which JT fans will love. Most of the songs are longer than average (over seven minutes) and are completely worth their full playthrough. It fades to a close with the slow and easy, Blue Ocean Floor. It is his much appreciated return to music, and I’m sure I can speak for all of his supporters when I say that we look forward to more music, including part 2 of The 20/20 Experience.

 

Lyrics: 9/10
Vocals: 9/10
Production: 10/10
Replay: 10/10
Flow: 8/10
Track Strength: 9/10
Catchy: 10/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Endurance: 8/10

Total: 83/90

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Album Review – So Long (Louque)

Louque - So Long
So Long

 

So Long, in my eyes, is timeless. It is one of those gems you find in life that no one else seems to know about, and it has always baffled me as to why. I have never heard any of the tracks on the radio and it can’t even be found on Itunes. Neither the album nor any of the songs has a page on Wikipedia. As far as the internet is concerned, knowledge of this group and its music is very limited, which is a shame because the album is great. It is, in fact, the only album I have not questioned buying and own in CD form.

The group is named after the lead vocalist, Dustin Louque (pronounced Luke). He is a native of Saint James Parish, Louisiana. The closest classification of this 2004 album is alternative rock, but it is so much more. Mixed into the nine songs are styles of dub, folk, trip hop, and soothing soul. The sound of the group caught my attention when one of the tracks, Whoa Now, was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Disturbia (2007). I immediately tracked down the rest of the album and was not the least bit disappointed. The opening track, Perique, has an inviting feeling that haunts while it entertains. The rest of the album is a brief yet enjoyable journey of wistful nostalgia. It uses drums, beat machines, acoustic guitar, and piano to gently surround you with an aura of calm. Even the cover of Mazzy Star’s Cry Cry is a strong rendition that rivals the original.

If you’re looking for an album that you can play over and over again, or revisit down the road, this is a perfect example. It leaves you with a smile. In a time when illegally downloaded music is so easy to come by, this album is absolutely worth paying for. I highly recommend it.

Lyrics: 7/10
Vocals: 9/10
Production: 9/10
Replay: 10/10
Flow: 10/10
Track Strength: 9/10
Catchy: 9/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Endurance: 10/10

Total: 83/90