There’s perhaps no-one closer to the heart of modern pop than Justin Timberlake. He’s been a central figure ever since the ‘90s fixation with boy bands, ultimately growing up in the genre while continuing to be its pioneer.

It’s been nearly seven years since Timberlake famously brought sexy back with FutureSex/LoveSounds. While his 2013 revival is coated in glossy sophistication, dressed head-to-toe in ‘Suit & Tie’, his newfound maturity is just as enjoyable and addictive as his obnoxious youth.

Timberlake and producer Timbaland show yet again why they’re an alliterative collaboration made in chart-topping heaven; Justin’s silky falsetto brilliantly marrying the R&B backdrop provided by Timbaland’s infectious ear-worm beats.

Whilst almost any of the 12 tracks could become standalone radio hits, part of the record’s brilliance is just how seamlessly it blends into a cohesive pop whole. Soulful ballads transition into bombastic dance jams and somehow don’t drag as much as they should despite spanning for seven minutes on average.

The flirtatious ‘Spaceship Coupe’ and ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ see JT at his most charming, while the hip hop-inspired ‘Tunnel Vision’ and gyrating African rhythms of ‘Let The Groove Get In’ encapsulate the 32-year-old’s ability to modernize his distinct brand of pop.

However, everything is partially eclipsed by the eight minute anthem ‘Mirrors’. Its down tempo R&B beat is instantly reminiscent of 2002’s ‘Cry Me A River’, but after the initial surge of nostalgia washes away it becomes memorable in its own right. Entrancing grooves combine with a sing-along chorus and a cathartic breakdown – this is perfectly-crafted pop destined to bring an entire stadium on its feet.

The 20/20 Experience proves, above all, that possibly nothing is as universally gratifying as a good pop record; something that has become far too illusive in the 21st century. Luckily, Justin Timberlake has managed to master it as art.

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