Open, unironic disco revivalism very often threatens to tumble into a 4/4 uncanny valley. Disco Not Disco, indeed. And Justin Timberlake’s extra smooth “Take Back the Night,” the opening salvo from the forthcoming sequel to The 20/20 Experience, is no exception. It could be that JT insists on having his vocals mixed as far in front of the mix as anyone in the business, or it could be the almost R. Kelly-esque synthesized flourish that kicks it off, or it could be that, like with “Suit & Tie,” it remains mezzoforte when you kind of want it to kick into fortissimo, or it could maybe be the (intentional?) cognitive dissonance centering a blockbuster club ode to hedonism around a phrase everyone knows means “do not rape.” There are specific ingredients that don’t simmer properly in Timberlake’s reverberating mastercut bouillabaisse, but the jam still gives off the impression that he invited Rod Temperton into his house the same way Daft Punk recruited Nile Rodgers.
The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) (as well as the twofer “Complete Experience”) drops September 30th, followed by a world tour kicking off on Halloween.