Under the lights & sound
Everybody get down, down
You know that she’s a killer
Watch it get down, watch it get down
This second volume of Timberlake’s 2013 return to the studio got significantly more mixed reviews that the first volume. And it’s even longer than volume one at a whopping seventy-four minutes. But, frankly, I didn’t get a significant drop in quality at all. I found this to be as good as the first album, if quite different. This volume has a darker tone than the first one. The first one was all about sincere love songs and sexy jams. This volume is about being under the spell and heartbroken. Of course, it’s still Timberlake, so this isn’t super-super dark; this isn’t Yeezus or anything. True Blood is a fantastic ten minute take-off on Thriller and it’s testament to the genius of the track that the comparison isn’t entirely damning. TKO and Amnesia both revolve around seeing an old-love that’s moved on with her life. Amnesia is as edgy as Timberlake gets with numerous f-bombs. Drink You Away is a bit different; it has more of a rock anthem feel as opposed to Timberlake’s typical R&B stylings. And the album ends with a couple of sweet songs to walk us out on a high note and they’re both quite good, the lyrical Not a Bad Thing and the tender, minimal Pair of Wings (a hidden track). My favorite track here is probably the darkest, Murder. It’s ostensibly about a woman that’s devastatingly desirable: “Might end a man’s life with that innocent face . . . That girl is murder, murder.” But there’s a surprisingly grim alternate interpretation that makes the song a real nightmare: “I really wanna take this under the ground, under the ground, under the ground/I would be down to go to that level.” It’s got a stomping triplet riff and an altogether menacing sound and a great guest verse from Jay-Z; the duo from Suit & Tie are on their way to a funeral this time, it seems. Regardless of whether or not this was necessarily intended to be the darker companion to the original, it’s a great record. Timberlake’s time away wasn’t wasted; speaking of murder, he really killed it with 20/20. 4 stars.
tl;dr – companion to the first volume is darker & even longer, but still a masterpiece with a wider range of styles; Timberlake keeps on killin’ it. 4 stars.