TIMBALAND -- TIMBALAND PRESENTS SHOCK VALUE
If his new effort, Shock Value
, is any indication, superstar producer Timbaland's entry into the mainstream has emboldened him.
Though all original material, the guests and stylistic mash-ups give the record a schizoid mixtape vibe. Timbaland might have the most distinctive style of any producer, Hip Hop or otherwise, with a sound epitomized by his skittish, cicada-beats and minimalist atmospherics. Though he rode on his laurels (initially earned from his work with Missy Elliott) for a while, Tim emerges with a (mostly) fresh outlook on Shock Value
. The Nelly Furtado/Justin Timberlake track, "Give It To Me," is a throwback to both of those artist's last Tim-produced albums, but elsewhere, he taps some new ground. The new disc reconfigures the dancefloor with bangers like the dirging, fuzzy "Bounce," the live-band "Oh Timbaland" (on which he samples Nina Simone and shows he's more skilled than your average producer/rapper) and surprising collaborations with Rock bands The Hives, She Wants Revenge, Fall Out Boy and Elton John. Those experiments recall Puff Daddy's attempts at a Rock sound -- in other words, nothing special (though the She Wants Revenge partnership on "Time" is strangely alluring). The club-ready sound Tim crafts mixes '80s synths and Dance music tricks with more futuristic beats. Unlike Pharrell's dreadful solo disc, In My Mind
, Timbaland shows that to make a "retro" sound viable, you have to offer something new with the old. (Mike Breen) Grade: B