Let me preface this by saying that I love Justin Timberlake’s new album. OK, its not that new, and I'm late to the party, but I'm on mom-time which sort of resigns me to being slightly unhip forever. Fair enough.
I keep thinking I’m going to pick something else to listen to, and my fingers sort of just find 20/20 and I am listening to it multiple times a day. Is this sounding confessional? It sort of is. I was never a Timberlake fan. In fact, by the time 98 degrees came around I was way over current pop music (too cool, obv) and into my classic rock phase. Anyhow, I am appreciating the 90s in a whole new way and this is in no way a 90’s sounding record, I just finally get why people have liked him all along.
The album is great because its whole- well written, well produced, sonically interesting, conceptual- he sounds polished, sincere, and intriguing. But my favorite part is that the more I listen, the more I like it. Haven't heard an album I felt that way about since The Belle Brigade, Aimee Mann, and possibly Outkast or Erykah Badu before that. It is the kind of album that rewards multiple listens with layers continuing to reveal themselves. It is so rewarding and gratifying to listen to. My favorite song changes and my favorite parts of songs evolve. That’s the most we can hope for, as consumers; An artist that is staying creative and keeping his chops up, but also so very clearly cares about the listener's experience. I mean, music isn’t made in that sort of way like “How can we best reward our loyal fans in an aural way?” (ew?) ….. but he (and Timbaland, of course) ‘gets it’, what makes a great song or album. I think only passionate music lovers can make music like this and it shows and is notable for anyone who has been in the business as long as they have. So often artists can still write great songs and can still make good albums, but lose that sort of passion about doing it- or even more importantly, what music is- what it means- its purpose- and why people love it in the first place- it gets lost. Not even the obvious “going-through-the-motions” artists, but something more subtle, where they lose that spark- where you know they listen to silence in their free time as much as possible because their ears are so very tired. Where you can tell they analyze chord changes and middle eights rather than bopping their heads. When you can tell they have a mental checklist of music they “need to check out”, not because they might love it, but because they are supposed to.
Wow, I went off on a tangent there. I was intending to write something totally different – an analysis on what bothers me about the song “Mirrors”. But I wanted the whole I-love-this-album preface so that you didn’t get the wrong idea…. Because I love this album. Can you tell?
I guess my "Mirrors" post will have to wait.
******UPDATE***** my brother & sister-in-common-law got me tickets to go see JT for my birthday. SO. EXCITED. Review dripping with adoring fan-girl-ness to come, I'm sure.