Timbaland is not just any ol' hip-hop & R&B music producer, he's a bonafide legend accredited for berthing one of the most distinctive sounds in the genre of hip-hop. Creating what can only be labeled "The Timbaland Sound", he's produced smash hits for the likes of Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Ludacris and several other successful artists. Having seemingly grown tired of the "hip-hop scene" however, he's recently garnered much acclaim with his record label, Mosley Music Group.
Producing two of 2006's hottest pop albums (Nelly Furtado's Loose and Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds), Timbo has, for the most part, veered off from his original sound and developed an ultramodern, electronic style. We've seen it work well for Furtado and Timberlake, but will this success carry over for Shock Value?
Prepare to be "Shocked"Using the same Nina Simone sample as the Kanye West-produced backpack classic "Get By", Timbo kicks off Shock Value with the lone solo track on the entire album. Over a trunk rattling blues and folk influenced beat, Timbo boosts his ego, vocally hurling insults every which way. Hollering "I ain't goin' nowhere dawg", Timbo seems to be prepping the listener for the rest of the album. "Oh Timbaland", the jumpstart of the album, is the sole display of Timbo's country roots as he moves on, propelling towards the "futuristic" sound. The following hour of music is purely off the wall and yes, a bit shocking, as well as a bit, dare I say, appalling...
The album's first single, "Give It to Me", featuring labelmates Furtado and Timberlake, is simultaneously nauseating and appealing. Though the beat sounds like a throwaway from either Loose or FutureSex/LoveSounds, Furtado narrowly saves the day with a catchy hook; but what's engaging and redeeming about this song is actually the whole concept of Timbo and a couple of pop stars talking smack: it's rather refreshing (sorry Scott!). Unfortunately, the sub-par production doesn't stop there! "Release" and "Way I Are", the following two tracks, are mediocre to say the least, the former sounding like a quasi-"Sexy Back" imitation, while the latter veering off into a no-man's land of repetitive synth-heavy electronica. Given his elevated status, it's really unacceptable that Timbaland, a rapper but producer foremost, could perform such an inadequate job on the boards.
"Kill Yourself" offers nothing at all aside from a rather convincing title (cough), and "Scream", featuring Keri Hilson and Nicole Scherzinger, will make you want to do nothing more but... (yes, you're starting to get the picture). With the way things are going in the music biz though, it wouldn't be a surprise if any of the above mentioned tracks turns out to become successful "smash singles."
Want That Old Tim Back...
Pardon the Biggie reference above, but seriously, we want hip-hop Timmy back! Thankfully, he blesses us with a pair of purely hip-hop-driven tracks that don't fall short. "Come & Get Me", the eerie, ground-thumping track featuring G-Unit (er, I mean "Tim-Unit") soldiers Tony Yayo & 50 Cent isn't riveting, but it serves its purpose. It's got the surefire frenzy of any ol' Ferrari F-50 track (you know, Fiddy spittin' gun-talk, Yayo's verse getting fast-forwarded), which begs the question: "Why haven't Timmy and Fiddy ever collabed before?" Next up we've got the hardest hitting track on the entire album, appropriately titled "Bounce." With an overwhelming display of grueling synths and highly-detailed elements fostering emotions of fright, allure and sex appeal, "Bounce" is a high-octane banger to say the least. Featuring the hermit-like Dr. Dre, as well as Justin Timberlake and long-time collaborator Missy Elliott, Timbo and crew unleash an energetic, effervescent and equally explicit tale of ****ing ****, *******-ing *** and ****-ing. You get the point. (Don't try to figure out the meaning behind those asterisks.)
Timbo Disappoints with Rock Foray
Rick Rubin is a versatile producer who can produce classic tracks in the genres of both hip-hop and rock. Timbaland, not withstanding his legendary status, simply can’t scratch the surface. Shock Value, riddled with an A-list of pop and indie rock acts, finds Timbo stretching it a bit too much. We know Timbaland's trying to reach a wider audience, but how effective is this in the long-run? Tim is venturing off into uncharted territory and the outcome is, quite frankly, a bit amateurish. From The Hives, to She Wants Revenge and the current reigning kings of the charts, Fall Out Boy, Timbo and his guest bands mutually prove that they shouldn't be making music together at all: not for their albums, and not for Tim's albums. The sole enjoyable rock song of the whole lot is actually the most low-key of them all: "Apologize" by One Republic finds Tim making minimal vocal contributions as the lead singer of the band croons his way through an evoking tale of love lost.