Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience Review: It's an "Overbaked Letdown"

Singer Justin Timberlake onstage during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

Despite some glowing critical praise, Justin Timberlake’s comeback isn’t entirely, er, justified by this overbaked letdown.

Yes, the singer unpacks his suave, impeccable falsetto on his third solo album, The 20/20 Experience (RCA). And his producer Timbaland carries out some of his most compelling R&B grooves in years (best synthesis: the smashing “Mirrors”). Yet the laborious seven-minutes-plus songs — don't even get me started on "Strawberry Bubblegum!" — meander too long, and the disc rarely reaches the melodious and emotionally hefty bars set by Frank Ocean, Miguel, Maxwell or, heck, even JT doppelganger Robin Thicke.

Maybe that switch to acting wasn’t such a bad idea. A note for the follow-up, which Timberlake has confirmed is in the works: Editing, people!