Timbaland Shock Value Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

The big, airy beats are the star of the show.

Eamonn Stack 2007

Hugely successful R&B and Hip-Hop super-producer to, among others, Ludacris, Bubba Sparxxx, Missy Elliot, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, this is Timbaland’s attempt to smash into the pop charts.

Familiar themes abound throughout, romance, clubs, attraction - few people buy Timbaland albums for their thought provoking lyrics. But it illustrates perfectly well his versatility and originality that he can make familiar territory from ear-pleasing crack-baby-soaked club bangers ("Give It To Me", "Miscommunication"), ripe for re-mixing and viral marketing, featuring people even your Mum has heard of. To radio-friendly diet-gangsta rap ("Come And Get Me"), to honey roasted sing-alongs ("Fantasy"), it's not designed to be examined and analysed too closely, it's hooky and light, aimed at teens living at the mercy of over-active glands; hormone heavy, rhythmically complex, R&B and Pop Celebrations. Top 40 trident missiles, if you will.

The big, airy beats are the star of the show. Unusually on some tracks they're not as heavy as you might expect, but I guess that's what makes them a tad more radio friendly. Synths are heavily used and there's little in the way of complicated melody.

Timbaland’s clearly been rocking Mirwais, Mylo and Les Rhythm Digitales in his Escalade.

You may not be impressed on the first listen, but if you give the tracks some time this is exquisitely produced pop/R&B that's more than the sum of its parts. The tracks that work feel disciplined and infectious, like all great poppy R&B, and do without the pointless skits and filler (ok, not completely, see below…) that are the scourge of so many Hip-Hop albums

The only real low points are tracks thirteen to seventeen. To the (cough) more mature ear, this already sounds like an exceptionally slick - bordering on calculated - effort (cynical, moi?)...and Timbaland makes no bones about his chart intentions. He's clearly trying to extend his audience reach. But with these headline-grabbing collabrations it's a stretch too far, they're easily the weakest tracks and doubtless those which his core audience will skip anyway.

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