July 12, 2013

Song Review: Justin Timberlake's "Take Back the Night"

The 20 / 20 Experience, Justin Timberlake’s grandly hyped prodigal return to the music world after a six year absence, may be one of the year’s best-selling albums with critical acclaim outside this space to bat, but AwkwardSound wasn't afraid to vocalize some honest takedowns about the LP for its past-present production style and middling mediocrity in the face of JT’s game-changer FutureSex / LoveSounds. It turns out one album wasn’t enough to satisfy Timberlake’s disco lite FM makeover, and the masses will now get another fix of it when the The 20 / 20 Experience's second installment arrives on September 20th through RCA. “Take Back the Night” is its first single, and in spite of AS’ hopes that JT might use Act II to concentrate on innovative foresight, the singer's retro-fitted tux doesn't sound like it's coming off any time soon. Sure, Justin sounds cool anytime he clears his throat against a backdrop built Off the Wall from the King of Pop's early solo days, but the mainstream pop machine is a fast-moving one, and in the time since the release of the first half of the 20 / 20 Experience, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" both carved their own healthy slices in the neo-disco-pop pie for better or for worse, making “Take Back the Night” that much less appetizing the second time around. Not helping JT's case is that the song title in itself lacks complete self-awareness for its more prominent and serious meaning, and opening up the track with the lines "This was your city / You did it all and more / Broke every law except for one, babe..." is a poor choice of words, regardless of whether that was intentional or not. Book-ended with last week's "Tunnel Vision" controversy, AS is prone to say, "JT, please -- By all means, take your 'sexy' back, too."

Justin Timberlake - "Take Back the Night"

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