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Music Review: Timbaland

Reviewing super-producer Timbaland's second studio release, Timbaland Presents Shock Value, is no easy task. Sure, most of the songs are perfectly produced and executed, from the club-ready "Give It to Me" and the haunting "Kill Yourself," to the brilliantly weird "Bounce."

But all together, Shock Value lacks cohesion, and sounds more like a sampler or compilation album than, say, any RZA or Kanye album-for example, songs like "Release" and "Come and Get Me" could have easily been b-sides, or even singles, off a Justin Timberlake or any G-Unit album.

Furthermore, the album contains some of the worst tracks Timbaland has ever produced, including the insufferable wannabe classic "Bombay," and the faux-slow jam "Apologize," featuring OneRepublic, an untalented nu-emo group signed to Timbaland's record label, Mosley Music Group.

The question remains, still, how to approach the album. Timbaland himself said that he was tired of excelling in the hip-hop genre and desired instead to conquer the Top 40 charts-Shock Value was supposed to be the big conquistador.

But one must wonder, then, if he was paying any attention when four Justin Timberlake and three Nelly Furtado tracks-none of which were hip-hop-hit the No. 1 spot.

And so what does a hip-hop producer who owns the hip-hop charts and, subsequently, the pop charts do? He attempts to conquer the alternative rock charts. Timbaland's desire to do so is evident in the last third of Shock Value, as he works with the emo mainstay Fall Out Boy, the Swedish freak-rock group the Hives, Interpol rip-offs She Wants Revenge and his own OneRepublic.

Never has a hip-hop producer so strongly inserted himself into the production of a rock track, but left the rock feel-it's been done before, but never like this. And while some of these tracks fall apart (Fall Out Boy's "One and Only" notably), the idea stays behind.

Shock Value, then, is mostly new looks at old news. But it's those few tracks that make us sit back and think that maybe we're catching a glimpse of a new form of music, some freak bastard child of rock, hip-hop and pop. Will a new genre be created, or will we witness the beginning of the largest musical implosion? We'll have to wait and see.


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