The 20/20 Experience
As a huge fan of Justin Timberlake’s previous solo albums, I anticipated this album with the fire of a thousand supernovas. It took me a couple of listens to the single “Suit & Tie” for me to get into it, but now I love it. The album as a whole is amazing. It is a bit more soul-heavy than his previous albums, which were more pop-heavy. As the CD title says, it is an experience. You need to listen to it from the very first track to the end. It has a soundtrack feel to it, but with its own story. Timberlake seems to have taken his time writing these songs. They aren’t flashy, but they are laid-back and well-produced. This album specifically gives me the same feeling as when I listen to Kid Cudi. I’m more than happy with it. Give it a chance — you won’t regret it. Though hard to pick, my favorite songs are “Don’t Hold the Wall,” “Tunnel Vision,” and “Dress On.”
I Am Not a Human Being II
(Young Money/Cash Money/Republic)
I’m genuinely impressed with this album. It’s like a hip-hop musical. I instantly fell in love with the first song, “IANAHB,” a melodic piano tune with well-timed rap and R&B vocals. Lil Wayne is no stranger to covering a multitude of genres, and he does it again on this album. In the song “Hello,” he rocks out with this energetic punk-thrash surprise. His lyrics are raw and uncompromising and can be a bit explicit, but I love it because it’s conversational and briskly real. However, as much as I like the lyrics, it’s how they sound with the beat of his songs that keeps me coming back. Ambient melodies, beats that pop and Lil Wayne’s unique vocals make this a great album. It definitely deserves a listen if you like rap and R&B. My favorites are “Back to You,” “Rich As Fuck” and “God Bless Amerika.”
Sam and the Womp
The moment I heard this song, I could already imagine it at the gay bar. The vocal hook is a bit repetitive, but it’s addictive and the beat will stay in your head. It has a very London feel to it. This is an uplifting song made to make you sweat. The remixes definitely do the song justice, and each one adds something unique. My favorite is the “N.V.N.Z. Club Mix,” because it has a deep techno style and makes your heart pound. They even have included an a cappella version of the vocals. It’s a bit strange, but I don’t hate it because it’s rather artsy and it surprised me. I applaud their experimental edge. Fans of dance music looking for something new should check out Sam and the Womp.
I welcome Dido’s comeback with open arms. I freely admit that I miss her voice, which has always stood out, in the mix of mainstream radio picks. It has a pleasant, calming feel to it. I really like this single. It’s in the classic Dido style and has a simple guitar rhythm. I’m excited to see what is next. The remixes are entertaining, and I’m amazed at the range of styles. The “J Viewz Remix” has a very familiar late ’80s pop feel, and I hate to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. My favorite, though, is the “Tom Swoon Remix,” because it is very danceable and they managed to sneak some piano onto the bridge sections.