On his first album in seven years, Justin Timberlake trades in the disco-ball-smashing, Prince-style dance pop of 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds for smoother R&B. Brad Wheeler provides a tweet-by-tweet rundown of The 20/20 Experience (out March 19, but streaming for free on iTunes):
Pusher Love Girl: Might as well face it, he’s addicted to love. A string-lush smoothie gives way to a trippy jam and unfortunate word-shaping. (“Hairo-wine.”)
Suit & Tie: The lightly gliding sartorial salute is the album’s tailor-made first single, on which Jay-Z advocates wearing tuxedos for no reason.
Don’t Hold the Wall: A dance-imploring number in which culturally confused producer Timbaland resorts to a film-score cliché: a woman’s Arabic-sounding wail.
Strawberry Bubblegum: Barry White, is that you? A Hubba Bubba-sweet love song with blips and swirls features a bass-crooning duet partner.
Tunnel Vision: An optometrist can’t help JT, but Timbaland can. The busily produced cut about the love-sick lack of peripheral vision is sneakily epic.
Spaceship Coupe: On an interstellar slow jam, there’s only room for two in the “space lover cocoon.” Sorry, R. Kelly, find your own ride.
That Girl: Marlo Thomas blushes and Cameron Diaz scowls, but it is Jessica (Biel) Timberlake who is the “pretty lady” in a Southern-soul-love special.
Let the Groove Get In: If this Latin-grooved party thing isn’t the intro music to the summer stadium shows with Jay-Z, then my name isn’t DeBarge.
Mirrors: For those who missed the wedding, an emotive ballad is as good as a vow, down to the outro chant, “you are, you are, the love, of my life.”
Blue Ocean Floor: JT closes out his first LP in seven years elegantly subdued. “Fade out and disappear,” he croons, and who knows when we’ll hear from him again.