Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Saturday, April 21, 2007 

Timbaland, what a fascinating cat he is. Always kicking alongside of the other big name hip-hop producers (Premier, RZA, Neptunes) and never afraid to bring in African drums, Indian melodies and exciting new sounds (making him a natural choice for Bjork when she was considering collaborators for her forthcoming Volta album) to the canvas of hip-hop, you can never say he plays it safe. Even here, at 19 tracks in length, Shock Value is brave and full of itself, at times justified, at times flatulent and pointless, but never scared to push somewhere new sonically. It's lyrically that the album is severely lacking in what it says on the box.

With an eyebrow-raising roster of guests (Missy Elliot, Elton John, She Wants Revenge, Fall Out Boy, JT and Dr. Dre to name a few), Timbaland clearly has clout, and what he puts behind these guests could be remixed to death and still cause booty shaking, head nodding and theme O-week freakouts, but anyone who uses Hives singer Pelle Almqvist as a backing vocalist is clearly stoopid or genius. There are a few moments when Timbaland is kicking just fine and these songs will fulfil the quota of singles he has to deliver (Release featuring JT is classy, and Missy Elliot and Dr. Dre's Bounce isn't but works as a sleazy, oversexed club track), and keep his rep intact, but the hip-hop demon "inability to self-edit" is woven through this album. Closing track where he hassles Elton John out is pointless and boring, the Fall Out Boy collaboration probably looked great in the record company office but is one ginormous wank on CD, and The Hives' track is a pale shadow of what should have happened. There is a lot that will sound samey to people who aren't hip-hop heads; masses of sex, money, ridin' in trucks and guns, but seeing this as a given, Timbaland does keep the beats fresh. Some fresh intentions would go a long way too however. "Go on kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself, if I was you I wouldn't feel myself" I guess that's new. Some new names like singer Keri Hilson featured on both Scream and Miscommunication and Money's vocals on Fantasy are smooth, while the track Bombay is ace as it is largely left alone by the MCs but these are isolated cases. Maybe he can redeem himself on Volta?

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