In case you’ve missed out
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
Seven years after taking us on an innovative-pop journey with his ground-breaking album FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake made his return this week with the release of his third solo album, The 20/20 Experience. Linking up once again with his long-time collaborator Timbaland, the former boy band heart throb has delivered another ensemble of mid-tempo tunes for his 2013 comeback. In a lot of ways, this new album is somewhat of a continuation of his 2006 record, which relies on the same horn-heavy loops and that classic JT beatboxing that we first heard nearly a decade ago.
While Timberlake did manage to get listeners briefly pumped for lead single the “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z and the Latin-infused “Let the Groove Get In,” the album has a more start to finish sound, as opposed to the more hit-heavy and single-charged style of his last two records. This“album only”vibe helps but also hinders. The cohesiveness of the ten songs gives it a defined flow that keeps consistent with the album’s theme of sexiness with substance. However, the songs almost sound too similar at some points which makes the 70-minute neo soul L.P. feel like dragged out elevator music. If anything, The 20/20 Experience shows that pop albums aren’t dead. Timberlake shows that it can be a popular commercial medium yet creative and ambitious.
For some, this album may be difficult to digest, but Timberlake’s aim and vision really can’t be denied. The 20/20 Experience will undoubtedly appeal to teenage girls, but woo the “musos”as well.
The Following – Mondays, CTV at 9 p.m.
Basic cable is anything but unfamiliar with television series categorized as ‘crime dramas’. CSI, Law & Order and Criminal Minds are just a few amongst a long list of television shows that fit into the ‘police procedural’ subgenre. At first glance it seems The Following is just another title to add to this list with generic conventions and a predictable plotline to boot.
The opening moments of the pilot episode encourage this feeling of doubt when we are introduced to Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), a washed up federal agent who has befriended the bottle. As he stumbles out of bed on a desperate mission for a glass of water the word “cliché” comes to mind. But don’t give up on Bacon yet. I mean, come on, it’s Kevin Bacon. After watching the first few episodes consecutively, I found myself hooked.
The series follows Hardy who is brought in as a consultant for the FBI when Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a serial killer who he previously apprehended, escapes from prison. Carroll, reminiscent of Law Abiding Citizen, uses his time in prison to meticulously develop a strategic plan of revenge against the man who put him away. Taking advantage of his incarcerated Internet access, Carroll forms a cult-like collection of people who are willing to abduct, murder and even sacrifice their own lives in order to fulfill the plan set out by their influential leader. To say this show is revolutionary would be a stretch, but it has certainly added some spice to the often dull content shown on basic cable.
The Strokes – Comedown Machine
Eager and devoted fans have waited patiently for the beloved band, The Strokes, to re-enter the music scene since their 2011 release, Angles. Only having released four albums in the past decade, The Strokes have experimented with their sound, stretching and challenging their music abilities from one album to the next as if their music is more like an epic saga than merely a band making music to stay a part of the musical trend. Comedown Machine carries a sense of nostalgia throughout the tracklist. 80s inspired hooks found on “One Way Trigger,” “80s Comedown Machine” and “Chances” present lead singer Julian Casablanca’s to demonstrate his impressive falsettos.
Yet the familiarity of the guitar riffs and rhythms that won fans hearts during Is This It? and Room On Fire are still present demonstrating another nostalgic feel for listeners. The feel-good rock out melodies in “Tap Out,” “All The Time” and “Slow Animals” remind us of the distinct rhythm guitar riffs and solos that Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Vilensi have established as their signature playing style.
The Strokes have never lost their voice nor sound with the growth of their music throughout their 13-year career. The album demonstrates the ability for the The Strokes to add to their catalogue without startling listeners or feeling as if they have lost their original sound. Comedown Machine proves that they are still sophisticated musicians, pushing boundaries and sounds by reminding listeners that every song is indeed, a “Strokes” song. Comedown Machine comes out March 26th.