After coming out the gate with the Robin Thicke and Pharrell-aping "Suit & Tie," Justin Timberlake and Timbaland return with "Mirrors," a song that's decidedly more them. And as my mother would always say (during our years as fictional characters on an ABC Family drama that never existed), "Better to fail as who you are than succeed as someone you ain't."
Let's hope Disney Mom was right, because from its opening synthy strings, the duo's 2006 offering "What Goes Around" is top of mind. And as it plods along, it does little to shake the impression that it's anything more than a more cheerful (if lower-quality) reheat of the FutureSex/LoveSounds single -- itself a reheat of 2002's far superior "Cry Me A River."
These first few songs we've heard from the upcoming The 20/20 Experience suggest either a contemptuous underestimation of his audience or an unconscious mental unpreparedness to return to music. Or perhaps it's both. Whichever way you slice it, it's a plainly pedestrian effort only made worse by its unwillingness to end (it clocks in at a torturous eight minutes). In a world where Brandy's "Slower" clocks in at under three minutes and Method Man and Redman only had 136 seconds to make a classic out of "Da Rockwilder," this feels even more of a travesty. Thankfully, Disney Mom warned me that life is seldom fair. She also warned me about the effects of nuking the same meal too many times.
And I wasn't even a Mouseketeer.