The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Timbaland lacks Shock Value

With over 10 years in the game, it is safe to call producer Timbaland an industry veteran. He has been a genre-defining hit maker for the majority of his career.

With releases from Missy Elliot, Ginuwine and Aaliyah, he single-handedly changed the sound of R&B by injecting the syncopated rhythms of UK jungle and drum’n’bass into his sound. Then in 1999, with Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin,” he switched up his sound by adding Middle Eastern and Indian influences to the mix and set off a flurry of imitators.

After a small break, Timbaland came back with vengeance last year, completely transforming his sound with protégé Nate “Danja” Hills. Together they crafted successful comeback albums for both Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, bringing their brand of house and trance-influenced pop music to the forefront. While his eyes were decidedly more focused on pop rather than just hip-hop and R&B, he is again out to redefine the sound of music.

He is now capitalizing on the successful run he had last year with his new release, “Shock Value.” Like previous efforts, the album has a long list of guest artists and protégés with his production taking the lead role. However, this time around he opted to use more pop-friendly acts, like Timberlake and Furtado, and a few left-field choices, like Fall Out Boy and Elton John. Although it’s quite ambitious, the album fails to maintain a level of cohesiveness throughout.

Make no mistakes, this is a pop album through and through and on this release, he’s at his best when he’s playing that role. A great example is one his collaborations with Timberlake, “Release.” Made in the vein of “Sexyback,” the track is tailormade to bump in clubs. He and Timberlake do that not-quite-singing-not-quite-rapping-I’m-actually-just-talking-along-to-the-beat-but-somehow-it-works thing they perfected on Timberlake’s album. It sounds great, but it is a bit formulaic.

His collaborations with vocalist Keri Hilson are some of the truly shocking moments on the album. Her voice is so perfectly suited for his production that she almost seems like an extension of the music. The best of their collaborations is the song “Miscommunication,” which also features Timbaand’s brother Sebastian. The best way to describe this synth-heavy track is futuristic. He manages to make an ’80s-influenced track without sounding like a complete throwback. The vocals are in perfect alignment with the track so that the production remains the star of the show.

Highlights aside, there are a few problems with the album, the most prominent being its formulaic approach. You’re not hearing anything here that he didn’t do better on Timberlake’s and Furtado’s albums. The title of the album is misleading, to say the least.

My other issue with the album is its lack of cohesion. The album is one-third party-hop, one-third pop, and one-third hip-hop and rock mash-up. The party-hop is okay, the pop portion is fantastic and the rock mash-ups just don’t quite mesh, except for “Time” with She Wants Revenge.

That said, “Shock Value” has some really great moments, and it is a good album. It’s just a little too ambitious, because Timbaland fails to bring it all together to create a singular listening experience. Bottom line: if you like the albums he produced last year you’ll dig this. If you’re look for something innovative, try K-OS. Trust me, you’re better off.

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