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Justin Timberlake, ‘TKO’ – Song Review

Justin Timberlake TKO Artwork

While much of Justin Timberlake‘s ‘The 20/20 Experience’ found the reformed actor focusing on throwback, butter smooth R&B songs, ‘TKO,’ the latest single from ‘The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2′ follow up, finds the singer revisiting different, yet familiar territory.

The rhythmic song sounds like it would have been quite comfortable nestled in the track listing of ‘Justified’ or ‘Future Sex/Love Sounds.’ But make no mistake, pop music fans. JT is not recycling old material. He’s just expanding on a formula that worked for him and giving it a modernized update.

“I’m out for the count / Girl you knock me,” he sings over a street groove. Clearly, his heart has been carelessly handled by a female. ‘TKO’ is not as polished or poppy as 1 of 2’s hits like ‘Suit & Tie’ or ‘Mirrors.’ Instead, it’s a dance song without being a banger, and Timbaland’s guiding production hand is heard and felt. He keeps things tight and adds plenty of nuances that make this song ripe for blasting out of the speakers of a low rider.

Lyrically, JT uses boxing lingo to describe the feeling of being knocked out when he sees his ex out with another guy. He’s not happy about it, but he sure got one helluva catchy song out of it. “Don’t understand it / Tell me how you could be so low?” he laments.

JT’s falsetto creeps in here and there, further expressing his pain over being TKO’ed by this former lady love. Essentially, ‘TKO’ is this decade’s ‘Cry Me a River.’

At seven minutes, it’s long, so expect a radio edit. But despite running three minutes over the normal length of a single, the track doesn’t overstay its welcome, thanks to the layers and the stylized, urban fade out that kicks in around six minutes.

Yeah, we’ve been TKO’ed by JT and his ’20/20’…again!

Listen to Justin Timberlake, ‘TKO’

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