Music: Shock Value

On Timbaland’s sophomore solo album (don’t worry, we didn’t know about the first one either), there is an eclectic mix of artists backing a somewhat disappointing sound. Although none of the songs on this album are completely unsatisfying, most of them do not meet the expectations that fans had for the Grammy-nominated producer. True to Timbaland’s style, the seventeen tracks have a futuristic sound reminiscent of such Timbaland produced hits as “SexyBack” and “Promiscuous Girl.” The CD features a wide variety of artists, including Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, Elton John. Stepping out from the pop and rap genre, he even collaborates with the rock bands Fall Out Boy, The Hives, and She Wants Revenge. However, the variety of artists proves to be the only variety on the album. While every song starts out with promise, it quickly relapses into Timbaland’s signature heavy beats at a moderately paced tempo. Though the bass and tempo give the album continuity, at times it feels overly repetitive and detracts from the overall mood of the album. In two tracks on the album, “Oh Timbaland” and “Kill Yourself,” Timbaland shows that he is not above a good old-fashioned industry rivalry. In the songs, he takes shots at Canadian music producer, Scott Storch. Storch has produced hits like “Candy Shop” for 50 Cent and “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce. Both producers had incredible success in 2006 and compete against each other for the chance to produce for music’s top recording artists. Their rivalry proves to be a little bit less than friendly, as Timbaland fires insults at the popular producer. Timbaland, however, does not have a lot to worry about as this album features several potential radio hits. Many of his songs are catchy and dance-worthy. “Release,” for example, has a very addictive hook. Fans of “SexyBack” will not be disappointed with the latest Timberlake-Timbaland collaboration. This song has radio success written all over it. Timbaland goes back to his roots for this album when he features Magoo on the track, “Boardroom.” Magoo, who used to be in a group with Timbaland, provides an element of fun on the track with his high-pitched vocals featured throughout the song. This track is the first single in which Timbaland has collaborated with Magoo since 2003. Although he travels to his past for “Boardroom,” Timbaland also shows that he is ready for future success. In three of the songs on this album, Timbaland flaunts the newest talent on his label, Keri Hilson, who provides a Nelly Furtado-esque backing for his raps. Featured with Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussy Cat Dolls on “Scream,” Hilson compliments the track with her sweet sounding voice. Although her seductive voice pulls the listener in, in the end, it is Timbaland that demands the attention in this track. This album, however, does not rely solely on pop vocals. In his alternative rock experimentation, Timbaland has found some level of success. In the song “Time,” featuring She Wants Revenge, Timbaland manages to blend two contrasting styles of music somewhat flawlessly. He stays true to the respective types of music while managing to create a new cohesive sound. Conversely, in the song “One and Only,” Timbaland’s sound seems to get confused with Fall Out Boy’s sound. The track seems to belong more to Fall Out Boy than to Timbaland and thus loses some of its appeal. However, the song is extraordinarily catchy, only bordering on annoying occasionally. While neither alternative, nor R&B, Timbaland shows his appreciation for the classics when he features Sir Elton John on the track “2 Man Show.” While Sir Elton John does not sing on the track, he creates depth with his skillful piano backing and shows Timbaland’s ability to create a simple, yet beautiful song. Despite being a slightly disappointing album overall, the CD has many promising singles. Timbaland was bold enough to take risks with his guest artists, but most of the songs did not live up to their full potential, and because of this, were substandard. Although the choices in featured artists were bold, the sound remained a bit safe, something unexpected from a risk-taker such as Timbaland. Had Timbaland taken the risks with his own sounds that he has taken with other artists, perhaps the album would had more of a “Shock Value.”