By: Ryan Brymer
When an artist like Justin Timberlake releases a record, everyone notices. If you have a television, you’d be hard-pressed not to notice—what, with a high-profile return at the Grammys, a featured spot on Saturday Night Live and a week’s worth of Jimmy Fallon appearances leading up to his release. Oh, you don’t have a television? Well then I’m sure your friends at Target are doing their job to remind you since they are the exclusive source for the Deluxe Edition of The 20/20 Experience.
My point? This album is everywhere.
Here at INSPIRED we don’t feel that it is in our “wheelhouse” to provide you with a full review of the record. You can surely find that elsewhere. But, we do want you to know what your friends, kids, co-workers, church members, and everyone else is listening to. And we want to approach it from a faith-perspective.
Freedom to Create
First off, I personally respect an artist who has the ability and freedom to create an artistic vision that is all their own and not the art that is forced on them by a record company. So, in those terms, I appreciate what Timberlake has created. Plus, it’s hard to argue with his angelic vocals. But that’s about where the compliments end.
On the whole, the record is forgettable and you can hope that your friends put it up on the shelf after two or three listens. Why would I wish for such a thing? Well, the album is chock-full of drug references for one. It is a collection of love songs of some sort, but there are heavy drug-related overtones throughout. And the lyrics become so ambiguous that at points I’m not sure if he is comparing the love of his woman to a drug that he craves; or if he is craving a drug the way he would crave his woman’s love; or if he loves his woman for providing him with the drugs that he craves. No matter what the misguided message, you probably don’t want your kids singing about “pushers,” “junkies,” “chronic,” “fatties,” having something “in their veins,” or being “hopped up” on anything more than Red Bull.
Suit and Tie
You may have heard “Suit and Tie” on the radio where they edit out some of these references as well as “the s*** word.” Well, this album doesn’t have an “explicit” label which means that Deluxe Edition that you’re picking up at Target or regular edition you download from iTunes (you mean, you still download music from iTunes? AmazonMP3 is where it’s at. Get on board, ‘cause that train is rolling. Sorry, I digress.) …none of these versions are going to be edited. You’ll get to hear it all. It’s not like they will be listening to Lil Wayne by any means, but it’s going to be pretty clear-cut.
This is our public message to you: Listen wisely and know what you’re getting yourself into. Educate your kids and friends that they might know what they are singing along to. While the love of God may be better than wine, it’s making a big leap to describe your girlfriend/boyfriend as your “heroine.”