Timbaland, ‘Timbaland presents Shock Value’

By • Apr 10th, 2007 • Category: Album Reviews

The most endearing thing about mega-producer Timbaland’s catalogue is that it has never sounded like that of a trendsetting superstar. While his club/hip-hop peers Diddy (who has parlayed his production work into that of an international icon) and The Neptunes (who have spent as much energy in recently becoming sex symbols as they have making music), Timbaland has maintained his reputation by staying behind the scenes.

Even during his 2006 banner year, in which he produced Billboard chart-topping albums for Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, Timbaland managed to keep a relatively low profile beyond the accolades. There were few self-promoting interviews, no reality TV shows and little grandstanding. Which makes the missteps on “Shock Value” so disheartening, as the only thing to blame is? well… him.

Timbaland has never appeared self-righteous, including on his various solo outputs and his LPs with his sidekick, Magoo. But this record’s closing track, “2 Man Show,” almost all but obliterates that mentality.

Featuring 24 guest vocalists, including Elton John on piano, the track encompasses everything that was wrong with the album’s previous 16 tracks. It is brash and pompous, while also sounding lazy and unfocused. For the first time in his career, “Shock Value” makes Timbaland sound like a guy more interested in being a hip-hop star than making wonderfully-progressive beats.

Having never fallen victim to the temptations of rock stardom, Timbaland was as crucial a decade ago in launching the careers of performers such as Missy Elliott and Ginuwine as he was last year to The Pussycat Dolls.

But most importantly, he’s been responsible for the most intriguing and forward-thinking club beats in years.

Unfortunately, it appears he’s now all too aware of that.

Northern Star, April 10, 2007

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