Justin Timberlake, music man of 2013, is streaming his new album on iTunes. There’s a “secret” track buried at the end of the album called “If I Had a Pair of Wings.” Close your eyes: this is a Michael Jackson impersonation. Let’s call it a tribute to Jackson. The song is a ballad sung with minimal acoustic guitar and strings, and sounds very much like the King of Pop. It’s actually uncanny.
Timberlake has buried the track inside what’s marked as an 11 minute track that starts with the 5 minute long “Not Such a Bad Thing.” At first you think, oh no, an 11 minute song. But halfway through. “Not Such a Bad Thing” fades out and “Wings” launches. I wonder what Jackson fans will say.
Meantime, “20/20 Experience Part 2” is a mixed bag. On first hearing I really like the opening track, “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)” plus “Take Back the Night,” “TKO,” and “Not Such a Bad Thing.” That first track opens sounding like a Queen record, and then picks up the bass line and beat from Herb Alpert’s “Rise.” Still, it’s very, very catchy.
It’s not possible that Timberlake won’t win the Grammy for Album of the Year for the whole “20/20” enterprise. Sampled, reinvented, twisted, turned on its head, “20/20” was the most ambitious and cleverest release of 2013.