Justin TimberlakeOdd collaboration aside, Justin Timberlake has spent the last six years ignoring what he was extremely good at in favor of pursuing a film career which can be described, at best: patchy. So there was a huge sense of relief, and indeed expectation, when he revealed in January that he’d been secretly working on a brand new LP. After all, this was the man who’d virtually revolutionized pop with Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, so who better to save us from the ghastly Guetta/Harris/will.i.am takeover that’s occurred during his absence. Unfortunately, the bloated, clichéd and derivative The 20/20 Experience is far from the triumphant comeback we all hoped for. Here’s a look at five sets of lyrics which prove how it’s far more The Love Guru than The Social Network.

Pusher Love Girl

Justin TimberlakeTimberlake appears to fancy himself as D’Angelo in his prime on this clunky neo-soul ballad. But his falsetto is so annoyingly piercing that at one point only drug-sniffing dogs are likely to hear him. Whilst his comparison of the addictive hold his ‘little mama’ has over him to that of a dealer is made all the more hackneyed for the fact he’s already used such a glaringly obvious metaphor on a duet with former pet project, Esmee Denters, back in 2009. Not the most encouraging of starts: [LISTEN]

Hey little mama, ain’t gotta ask me if I want to
Just tell me can I get a light
Roll you up and let it run through my veins
Cause I can always see the farthest stars when I’m on you
And I don’t wanna ever come down
Off this cloud of loving you

Suit & Tie

Justin TimberlakeIndicative of the anti-climax ahead, Timberlake’s first solo single since 2007 had everyone scratching their heads when it limped onto the radio. Indeed, considering he’s now happily married to a beautiful Hollywood A-lister, it’s disappointing that he still seems pre-occupied with the kind of chat-up lines and boasts of sexual prowess that even Charlie Sheen would turn down for being too sleazy. Even Jay-Z sounds bored out of his brains, delivering his shameless designer brand shout-out guest rap with all the gusto of a deflated whoopee cushion: [LISTEN]

I can’t wait til I get you on the floor, good-looking
Going out so hot, just like an oven
And I’ll burn myself, but just had to touch it
It’s so fly and it’s all mine
Hey baby, we don’t mind all the watching
Cause if they study close, real close
They might learn something

Strawberry Bubblegum

Justin TimberlakeThe Walrus Of Love-style intro is a nice touch, whilst the lo-fi bleeps & synth-snares initially provide a sensual Prince-esque vibe. But further proof that Timberlake badly needed someone who knew when to press the stop recording button, this less-than-subtle and regularly cringe-worthy (mouth emotion?) ode to the Hubba Bubba qualities of his lover leaves you wishing that someone had stuck at least the last four minutes of it under the table: [LISTEN]

I, I can’t deny the way you caught my eye
I mean something struck and refilled up the sky
And everything on you intoxicates
It’s a mystery, I don’t know why
I let you get in my do not disturb zone
But I guess your mouth emotion got me so high

Spaceship Coupe

Justin TimberlakeUsing the same production tricks (fuzzy acidic synths, clomping R&B beats) that he has done ever since the early 00s, “Spaceship Coupe” suggests Timberlake would have been better off hooking up with Pharrell Williams again instead rather than putting all of his eggs into Timbaland’s ideas-free basket. However, it’s JT who is responsible for the whole toe-curlingness of it all as he whispers a whole encyclopaedia of futuristic-themed sweet nothings that are so laughably bad, you begin to wonder if it’s another one of his The Lonely Island parodies: [LISTEN]

Now everybody know that you’re from outer space
But honey but I just wanna turn hyper space with you
So take me to your galaxy where I could place, that milky way

And sugar I’ll take my time and show you the backseat view

That Girl

Justin TimberlakeAttempting to recreate the atmosphere of a Memphis blues club judging by the pointless spoken word intro, “That Girl” may be a departure from the series of creepy dancefloor come-ons that dominate the record. But what the Southern soul pastiche lacks in lechery, it makes up for in schmaltz as Timberlake confesses his love for his number one girl by embarrassingly and unforgivably relying on the age-old ‘you must have fallen from heaven’ spiel: [LISTEN]

Didn’t have to run, I knew it was love from a mile away
But I had to catch you, running through my mind all day baby

They all say I’m crazy, cause anybody even when you father say

That I can’t be with you, I don’t hear what they say