Album Review: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience

When I was in elementary school, my physical education experience, while standard in many aspects, required all students to gather on the blacktop at least 3 times a week and learn to dance. Aside from a fantastic medley of country songs, pop boy-band ‘NSYNC, which was at the height of their popularity, was also a constant choice amongst the athletic coaches. Within my social circles, we all despised ‘NSYNC and constantly complained about having to dance to this dreaded music. Justin Timberlake was primarily at the receiving end of our animosity, continually being the subject of elementary schoolboy satire, but I must emphasize, we all really did like ‘NSYNC, we just would never admit it. I am now older, perhaps a little more secure and confident, and I can now admit I like Justin Timberlake and enjoy his music. However, my enjoyment of Justin Timberlake music aside, his latest release, The 20/20 Experience, while a welcomed change in sound from previous Timberlake albums, lacks musical variation within the album, suffers at times from horrid lyrics, and features a few throw-away songs; although I do recommend a listen of The 20/20 Experience, I can’t do much more.

The 20/20 Experience opens relatively strong, with the initial track Pusher Love Girl, a slow, diverse R&B song, serving as an effective platform for the rest of the album, and a transitional piece to perhaps the most well-known single, Suit and Tie. Suit and Tie, while not as catchy as 2006’s SexyBack, documents a successful growth within Timberlake’s music, with the appearance of Jay Z confirming The 20/20 Experience to be a more mature project. And in many aspects, maturity and growth dominate the album, as Timberlake, heavily distanced from his promiscuous, all-denim wearing days, now boasts of marriage, old love, and women wearing ball gowns. I do not see this change as problematic, but in some instances, Timberlake seems torn between channeling his new sound along with consolidating the past pretensions of “Future Sex/Love Sounds.” Lyrics such as “Stop, let me get a good look at it. Oh, so thick, now I know why they call it a fatty…” result, highlighting Timberlake may no longer be the same artists who once readily claimed to be the force behind the resuscitation of sexiness.

Past Pusher Love Girl and Suit and Tie, the album predominately maintains consistency, yet suffers to truly expand musically past the tone set in the initial songs of The 20/20 Experience. In this sense, every track sounds similar to the next, and while that’s not entirely a negative aspect, a diverse array of songs would obviously be more effective. In moments when Timberlake does in fact attempt to broaden his sound, tracks such as Don’t Hold the Wall and Let the Groove Get In are enlisted, but these songs hold no cohesive place within the album, serving as misplaced filler tracks. Essentially, The 20/20 Experience is a listenable paradox, in that it suffers largely due to the fact that it maintains too similar of a sound throughout, yet when Timberlake diverts from this format, the album fares worse. Gone are irresistible songs such as Cry me a River and My Love, but Timberlake, in my opinion, is indeed transitioning musically in a positive direction; it is just a long, arduous process that he hasn’t fully realized. The 20/20 Experience is decent, even good at times, and the second installation of the album, which Timberlake plans to release in November, hopefully will avoid the redundant pitfalls of its first half, and expand upon Timberlake’s maturation and growth.


Metal Workgroup Recommends…

Suggestions from Metal from the March 21st workgroup session!

Botanist – Sophora Tetraptera (IV: Mandragora)

Denouncement Pyre – The Deceiver (Almighty Arcanum)

Nero Di Marte – Convergence (Nero Di Marte)

Intronaut – The Welding (Habitual Levitations: Instilling Words With Tones)

Cerekloth – Halo of Syringes (In the Midst of Life We are in Death)

O.L.D. – Freak Now (The Musical Dimension of Sleastak)

Axeman – Metnal (Place of Fear) (Arrive)

Email with questions or recommendations.

Dispatches from a Party Clean Up

on the job
On the job

Good DJ/Samaritan Helps Clean Up WOBC Party, Finds Little to Clean

You know, I sure do appreciate it when people go out of their way in order for others to have fun. Like the good residents of 123 South Professor St., and all those at WOBC behind this semester’s iteration of the station-led bash. On a typical Oberlin Saturday night, the party provided some key attractions that made it a so-called “success.” But I really gauged the success of it thanks to a quote from a good friend: “Man, that party was the best! My boyfriend and I hooked up with so many people!”

So to come back the next morning and help clean up a bit? Sure, why not. I mean, it’s the least I could do.

But arriving at SoPro that Sunday morning pre-hangover, I was surprised to see the place looking quite commendable. The inside of the house was pretty much done, so I took to the porch, where I separated glass bottles from cans. The clinking and crashing of bottles and cans in the numerous plastic bags proved therapeutic to my ears, as did the strange odors emitting from the mass of finished and unfinished beers. I then proceeded to “hose down” the porch, which mainly turned out to be me flooding one area of the porch and kind of giving up on the rest. I kicked the puddle around and spread the water around, thus deeming the porch ‘clean’. Then I picked up some soggy cigarette butts. Probably should’ve cleared those before the hose, right? As I walked through the backyard to put the hose away, I noticed mud and grime caking the bottom of my pants and white Converse. It made me feel dirty, and I like feeling dirty. It made me feel real, like I was actually doing something, like feeling the consequences of hard work and stuff. Some pretty powerful feelings at 123 So Pro that faithful Sunday morning.

Moral of the story? Don’t underestimate the power of the post-party, morning after clean up. Or alternatively, a question for all of us to think about – does Oberlin need to go harder and messier at parties?

Ivan Krasnov

Vinyl Workgroup Recommends…


Attached are some of the latest tracks unearthed by Vinyl Workgroup. Have a listen, and maybe fall in love with something new.

Misty Eyes by Richard Lloyd (Alchemy)

Screwed Up by Sparks (Big Beat)

Shine a Light by Spiritualized (Lazer Guided Melodies)

Sons of Stone by The People’s Temple (Sons of Stone)

London Town by Chris Spedding (The Only Lick I Know)

Daddy’s Gonna Treat You Right by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet (Ozone

Want us to digitize a track or full record from the station’s extensive vinyl vault? E-mail

IAN NAGOSKI lecture + listening session TOMORROW 3/21

Widow's Joy

Oberlin Concert Board and WOBC present a lecture and listening session with Ian Nagoski:

Record producer, music researcher, and writer Ian Nagoski specializes in early 20th century recordings in languages other than English. In the past five years, he has produced collections for the Dust-to-Digital, Tompkins Square, Important, and Em record labels, as well as his own Canary imprint (manufactured and distributed by Mississippi Records of Portland, OR). In the past 12 months, he has produced six new LPs of music from India, Anatoalia, Greece, the Levant, and Eastern Europe, as well as a “global view of the rise of rock n roll, 1942-61.”

His new lecture, titled The Widow’s Joy: Pride, Genius, Grief & Lies from International 78rpm Recordings, seamlessly presents recordings from the the mid-1910s to 1950 across a wide geographic area. Musicians, famous and obscure, “classical” and “folk” alike are presented side-by-side as Nagoski describes one life after another of a creative person whose biography was marked by displacement, tragic circumstance, great opportunity, and forces of history beyond their control. In the process, Nagoski shares rarely-heard and deeply touching performances, some joyous and some heartbreaking, while asking questions about the value of life and meaning of music.

“Like [Harry] Smith, Nagoski is a Walter Benjamin visionary, using his collection of 78s to hallucinate a history that actually happened but which remains hidden beneath official dogma and nationalisms.” – Marcus Boon, the Wire

“I was entranced. I was FASCINATED.” – Henry Rollins, KJFC

“his work is so rare and important that it should almost be treated as a ritual object, a pathway to the past and a voice for ghosts of a forgotten part of American musical history… He is not an academic, but a street corner preacher. His milieu is probably a bar or rock club as much as it would be behind a lectern, but that’s the point of someone like Ian. His work lives in two places at once: in the mind of the academic and in the heart of the public. For that reason alone, he is special.” – Nate Wooley, Sound American

“work of great beauty.” – Jace Clayton, DJ /rupture, WFMU

“It’s almost in a mystical way. He’s not just talking about: ‘Here’s this item I own.’ When he talks about or writes about these items, they’re discs that can really transport you.” – Ben Chasney, Six Organs of Admittance

“as essential to an understanding of American music as anything else.” – Amanda Petrusich, Pitchfork

“a beautiful and labyrinthine Americana, one that stretches confines of the definition of the word itself.” – Thom Jurek, AllMusic

“enigmatic, haunting, transfixing, and just plain odd.” – Brett
McCabe, Baltimore City Paper

Craig Lecture Hall // Oberlin Science Center 2nd Floor // 7PM // Thursday, March 21st

Buy and Sell Records, CDs, Tapes and Trinkets at WOBC’s Annual Block Party!


block10 On Saturday April 27th from 1-4pm WOBC is hosting our annual block party in Park Street Park! (Potential rain date Sunday April 28th)

This year we’d like to host a record sale and flea market and we’re calling all music enthusiasts and eccentric collectors to help us. We need vendors! If interested, contact

The block party will also feature a 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament, four-square, performances and DJ sets by local artists, food trucks, and an open chess tournament. To register as a basketball team, just email

The block party is free and open to everyone so please do come out for a day of family fun in support of your local radio station.

PS – don’t forget to register yourself and two buds as a bball team.

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