LOOK. I just went broke buying tickets to the Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z show in Vancouver, so don't tell me that I don't appreciate all that JT has to offer. That said: Jon Caramanica's piece in yesterday's Times about Timberlake's long-awaited The 20/20 Experience pretty much nails it:
While it was Mr. Timberlake’s success in music that allowed him the chance to succeed in film, or TV, or fashion, or baking (who knows?), now the opposite is true: His sustained fame as a polymathic celebrity means there’s still an appetite for his music, even if he’s out of step with most current trends. (Or maybe he just has a contractual obligation. Nobler art has been made for less noble reasons.) He could have made a cabaret standards album, an acoustic singer-songwriter folk record, a ghastly dance-music immersion, a pseudo-Drake sing-rap hybrid. Any of those would have been more risky and more distinctive than what ended up on The 20/20 Experience, an amiable, anodyne album that hopes not to alienate anyone but also doesn’t offer new reasons to commit. It’s an album of largely inconsequential beauty, showing Mr. Timberlake as an artist with no incentive to innovate, making this primarily a paean to brand maintenance. It’s not meant to change minds. (Via.)
Unlike, say, FutureSex/LoveSounds, which was clearly designed to change everybody's minds—and which clearly did, as it is now widely acknowledged as the Greatest Album of All Time*—20/20 doesn't really do much, but that's okay, because it turns out JT is just saving all his good songs for his other new album, coming out in November! Questlove broke the (probably reliable?) news. Man, that guy. He just loves to talk.
spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now.....10 songs later= 20 vision) (Via.)
Vulture goes on to note that it's "hard to argue with that math. (Plus, JT says he and Jay-Z worked on a bunch of songs that didn't make the first cut)," so let's just count this news as being rock-solid reliable and 100 percent true, because it'll make all of us feel way better about what we got for 20/20.
Also, friendly reminder: Don't ever tell Questlove your secrets.
*Mercury Music Editor Ned Lannamann disagrees with this fact; his stance may or may not have had something to do with Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey's recent office-wide email that encouraged Mr. Lannamann to "SHAPE UP OR SHIP THE FUCK OUT."