note: on monday i posted part 1 of this blog with some backstory and my factors for making these choices. i encourage you to read it first.
justin timberlake’s newest album, The 20/20 Experience, drops in a little over a month, but he has released the album art and track list already via twitter. so i thought it might be fun to create a pre-release album review based on zero knowledge of what the songs sound like, but educated guesses from these criteria…
1. track title
2. track list history of justified and future sex/love sounds
3. justin’s personal life
4. the single – “suit & tie”
5. two performances: he performed three songs (“suit & tie”, “pusher love girl” and “that girl”) at a super bowl show in new orleans last weekend. and his performance of “suit & tie” and “pusher love girl” at the grammys last night.
…so read this loud and clear: this is based on hunches and hopes and history. that’s it. here’s what his tracklist looks like:
1. Pusher Love Girl – on Justified, JT launched with one of my all-time favorites of his in Señorita. the FSLS opener was the album title track and felt like it served more as an introduction than it does an actual track. so this one would be pretty tough to target if it hadn’t just been performed at the grammys on sunday night. the live version was terrific, but something tells me the album version will be a lead-off homer. Favorite Odds: 6-1
2. Suit & Tie (feat. Jay-Z) – hmmmm. where do you project the pace horse? the single is great. the more i listen to it, the more i love it. the Jay-Z verse isn’t phenomenal, but that background has me bumping around like crazy. I certainly hope this is not the best track on the album – typically the single comes in third or fourth place in my mind. so i’ll project it there. Favorite Odds: 7-1
3. Don’t Hold the Wall – count on this: this track will be one of the worst on the album. why? because the three spot is just not justin timberlake’s baby. the initial reasoning is obvious: Sexy Ladies and (Oh No) What You Got – off of FSLS and Justified respectively – are two of the weakest tracks on both albums. but dug a little deeper, and you’ll discover something very very interesting…on all three of *NSYNC’s studio albums, Justin makes a strong appearance on tracks 1, 2 and 4, while track 3 is always a JC Chasez lead track. seriously. take a look at the track lists of Celebrity, No Strings Attached, and *NSYNC, and look for yourself! all that to say, the 3-spot has 16 year history of stinking. don’t expect that to change. Favorite Odds: 30-1
4. Strawberry Bubblegum – eww sickening. the word “bubblegum” is an immediate vomit-inducer for me ever since john mayer utilized the “bubblegum tongue” lyric in Your Body is a Wonderland. however, word aversions aside, it’s batting clean-up so it can’t be all bad. here’s to hoping JT can turn the aversion around. i’m confident, but not THAT confident. Favorite Odds: 10-1
5. Tunnel Vision – with the album title being eyesight related, that makes this track the only on-theme song on the entire record. couple that with the fact that it’s in the historically potent 5-spot (cry me a river & lovestoned), then you’ve got yourself a recipe for success brewing. Favorite Odds: 3-1
6. Spaceship Coupe – this is certainly the dark horse. the six spot holds some power (see: rock your body, what goes around…), but this title is like me going to the k-state/ku game in lawrence last night – high probability that it’s going to blow, but there’s an infinite ceiling if it’s a winner. also the addition blaster noises, robotic voices or melodic beep-boops will exponentially increase this song’s odds. Favorite Odds: 18-1
7. That Girl – this song is at minimum performance-ready, as it was one of three songs played at his new orleans show last weekend. that makes it a little more promising than usual, but its title and placement is very reminiscent of “damn girl” off FSLS. underwhelming. Favorite Odds: 15-1
8. Let the Groove Get In – the latter tracks are a bit of a mystery in terms of content usually, but make no mistake about this one: it’s got slow jam written all over it. turn down the metronome and dim the lights; this one has minimal shot at being my favorite, but will certainly land in the top half of the album. Favorite Odds: 8-1
9. Mirrors – this feels like a massive question mark. as mentioned on “let the groove get in”, the latter tracks are more of a mystery, and these placements always make me wonder if artists are trying to hide a weaker track here. Mirrors is a cool enough title, but i have no reason to give this song any real possibility. Favorite Odds: 23-1
10. Blue Ocean Floor – is this the third and final installment of “never again” and “all over again”? the placement at the end of the album leads us to believe it will be another outro with JT crooning at the piano. but the last two are certainly of the “you broke my heart” genre, and his new life as a Mr. Mary Camden could really toss a wrench in that trend. My bet: stylistically similar, but the content is drastically different. it’ll be beautiful, but not a favorite. Favorite Odds: 20-1
welp. that’s the tracklist and my odds on the potential winners and losers in the field. if you rank my ten in order of the odds i gave them you get…
5. Tunnel Vision (3-1)
1. Pusher Love Girl (6-1)
2. Suit & Tie (7-1)
8. Let the Groove Get In (8-1)
4. Strawberry Bubblegum (10-1)
7. That Girl (15-1)
6. Spaceship Coupe (18-1)
10. Blue Ocean Floor (20-1)
9. Mirrors (23-1)
3. Don’t Hold the Wall (30-1)
comments? criticisms? concerns? tharts?
the album drops in a little over a month, so you’ve got plenty of time to disagree and create your own pre-release favorites list. give it a shot. i dare you to do better.