Amoeblog

Albums Out March 19: Justin Timberlake, Palma Violets, Phosphorescent, and More

Posted by Billy Gil, March 19, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Album Picks:

Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

Justin Timberlake The 20/20 ExperienceCD $13.98

LP $27.98

The latest in epic pop albums comes from Justin Timberlake, whose first album in seven years is an hour-long tour de force that aims to put Timberlake firmly back on top as one of the top entertainers of his generation. Following grandiose albums from some of his peers — Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE, to name the most noteworthy — Timberlake goes big with The 20/20 Experience. Though nearly each song stretches past six, seven, even eight minutes in an apparent bid for every track to hit like Ocean’s huge “Pyramids,” 20/20 thankfully mostly avoids the excess of, say, Beyonce’s I Am… Sasha Fierce and doesn’t pander to his audience of now-grown-up, former teenyboppers, actual teens and “serious music fans.” Producer Timbaland, with whom Timberlake previously collaborated very successfully, shows up to produce 20/20 with Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon (Jay-Z, Chris Brown). Timberland and Harmon keep things relatively mature and redolent of classic soul and R&B, wisely avoiding the sort of europop faddism that has drowned recent efforts by Madonna and Rihanna. “Pusher Love Girl” is funky and spare, allowing Timberlake to unleash the high-end vocals he first debuted on “Cry Me a River” and showing the strongest bit of the Stevie Wonder influence that crops up all over the album. First single “Suit & Tie” moves from slo-mo, tripped-out hip-hop of the classic Timbaland variety before morphing into a swirling, orchestral soul jam and then back again for an unflashy but welcome spot from Jay-Z. The longer song lengths works for Timberlake when the songs have something to say — despite its confectionary name, “Strawberry Bubblegum” is a glorious pastiche of the sort of psychedelic soul pioneered by Shuggie Otis and ’80s radio R&B, shifting its beat several times and sounding inspired throughout. When they’re less inspired, the songs drag as Timberlake occasionally goes too low-key. But for the majority of 20/20, Timberlake and Timbaland keep things equal parts interesting and entertaining, like on “Let the Groove In,” which can only be described as a futuristic version of Debarge or the Miami Sound Machine. On “Mirrors,” an appealing, sweet radio ballad in the vein of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” or Rihanna’s “What’s My Name,” Timberlake delivers the goods that have thrilled kids since the late ’90s. It’s hard not to let your inner 12-year-old squeal.

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We've Got Tonight - Odd Pairings in Music

Posted by Miss Ess, October 30, 2008 07:33pm | Post a Comment
With the recent advent of the Jack White/Alicia Keys James Bond theme song, a fellow employee and I paul mccartney and michael jacksongot to thinking about odd pairings. What was up with the 80s anyway? It was the era of the power ballad, which means it was also one of the main eras of odd pairings (although I do seem to remember Bob Dylan popping up in Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" video in the 90s, but blessedly that was not an artistic pairing).

The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Paul was the "cute" Beatle and Michael was the "cute" Jackson, so this seemed like it could work...until you realize that Paul lived on a Scottish farm with his wife of many years, Linda, and their children, eating vegetarian food and lovingly raising animals. Michael, on the other hand, lived on Neverland Ranch, allegedly with groups of small children shuttling in and out of his Playland, complete with caged exotic animals. And these guys duetted twice, on "Say Say Say" and also "The Girl is Mine!" Without even considering the legal issues that came about soon after the duets due to Jackson buying the Beatles' songbook despite McCartney's wishes, it's no surprise they never talked again after creating these tracks. Here's "Say Say Say":



Another odd pairing that is a favorite of mine has always been Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton's "We've Got Tonight." Kenny's a down home kind of guy, into primping but still at home in cowboy boots-- a classic Texan. Sheena's an intense, romantic gal hailing from grey Scotland and specializing in dance-pop. I think all these two had in common was that they were selling a heck of a lot of records on their own back in 1983. I've heard they really did not get along at all in the studio though. At least they could come together this once, just for this night, of course. From the intro chatter to the mic control, I absolutely love this performance:

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