“Blue Ocean Floor,” the album’s closer, could have been lifted straight off Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak.” Over a stuttering electronic sample, Timberlake luxuriates in an unvarnished croon that mines the silkier shades of his voice. It trails off into a gurgle, subsumed in water. The JT of 2006 would never have ended a song, much less an album, like that.
And that gets to the heart of “The 20/20 Experience.” It is not groundbreaking — we’ve heard all these sounds and moods before — but it signals a bold move for the artist who made it. It marks the convergence of all his talents into one singular entity: Justin Timberlake, renaissance man.
James Reed can be reached at email@example.com.