It has been just under 7 years (6 years, 6 months and 7 days to be exact, but who’s counting) since Justin Timberlake has released an album and the thought on the minds of many was “will it be worth the wait?” Being a huge Justin Timberlake fan, I personally was dying to hear what he had to offer. The album which was released on the 19th March in the States and on the 18th March over here in the UK, was streamed for free on iTunes a week prior to its release. I got a chance to listen to it for the first time exactly one week ago yesterday.
I must say that on first listen I was anxious to get through the whole album. However, I immediately knew which songs were my favourites and that hasn’t changed since.
My favourites (in no particular order and leaving out suit and tie): Pusher Love Girl, Strawberry Bubblegum, That Girl, Let The Groove Get In, Spaceship Coupe, Mirrors and Blue Ocean Floor.
Pusher Love Girl was a great way to start the album as it set the tone perfectly. I loved the strings at the start of the song. It completely drew me in. And the drop where you hear Timbaland and the guitar come in was on point. Now I know a lot of people were thinking ‘only 10 tracks after a 7 year hiatus?’ But the songs were beautifully crafted as they are all 6-7 minutes long. I love the breakdowns at the end of the songs. I think I was more excited about the breakdowns than the actual songs themselves.
Strawberry Bubblegum is easily my favourite track, hands down. When I saw the title I thought, ‘Justin, is this a joke?’ but the song was so smoootthh I didn’t even care that he was talking about how sweet his lady tastes. This song gave me that smooth like velvet feel , something like Maxwell or D’angelo is they were to do a soulful pop record.
Speaking of smooth, Spaceship Coupe took me there. Now that is soulful Justin at his best.
Let The Groove Get In gave me dancing Justin. To the point where I can see the music video or live stadium performance every time I listen to it. It’s like Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” mixed with Bollywood colourful beats and Afrobeats. In an album that is so slick I think this track fit perfectly in picking up the pace even just for 7 minutes.
Since Justin’s performance of Mirrors at the Brits I can’t say that the song really stayed in my mind. Although it got me excited to hear more, it didn’t really click with me. I’m very much a lyrics kind of music lover, it can’t just be about the beat and even if it is it has to show strong musicality. When I say that listening to this track in all it’s fullness on the album caught all of my attention, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Hearing this song on the album fulfilled every musical desire in me. It is beautifully written and Justin sings every lyric like he’s singing it to me personally. I loved it and I didn’t expect to.
Another song that hit me to my core was Blue Ocean Floor. Now this song doesn’t actually have a beat but it has a certain rhythm to it. This song really takes me on a journey and puts my mind at ease as I listen to every word he’s saying.It’s kind of like standing at the shore of a sandy beach as you look at the ocean as the sun is rising and a cool breeze is caressing your skin. Just perfect
Even though these are my favourites it’s not to say that the rest of the songs aren’t great. Tunnelvison actually had to grow on me but i appreciate it for what it is, the more I listen to it the more I get into it. As well as, ‘Don’t Hold The Wall’ which after listening to it a couple of times I woke up to it in a sense and paid more attention to how good the song is. I also like the two bonus tracks which are on the deluxe version, ‘Dress On’ and Body Count’. I got into the groove of those songs straight away.
This is definitely an album you can listen to from beginning to end without skipping tracks. I wouldn’t call this a pop album either, it’s an R&B, Soul, Pop album.
I’m a sucker for live performances. Once I hear the live version of my favourite song I tend not to go back to the original. So when I saw Justin’s week long live performances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon it made me love him all over again. Such a great, effortless performer.
Although there aren’t any major differences between this live version of Strawberry Bubblegum and the album version, it made me realise why I love the song so much. His energy brings the song to life and I almost forgot how slick he was with his dance moves. He just makes it look so easy.
Also his Medley of hits.
This guy is a legend!