Shock Value doesn’t feel as random and indistinct as many albums by producers using all-star lineups do: The entire disc has a dark, futuristic mode, with Tim using rhythm instruments like riffs and giving you beat candy in different flavors; even his rhymes don’t get in the way too much. On “Release,” Tim and Timberlake work up disco that sounds a bit like “SexyBack,” in a good way. The seductive “Oh Timbaland” seems to groove sideways and straight ahead at once. “Bombay” splits the difference between Bollywood and synth pop, and “Scream” rides a thumping, guitar-specked beat that deserves to have a better tune attached.
Shock Value sags toward the second half: The Fall Out Boy and Hives songs show that Timbaland has moved past the novelty stage of working with rock bands, but just barely. (The She Wants Revenge-assisted “Time” has a cool New Wave gloss, though.) The guests’ main job is usually just to adorn whatever Tim has in mind, which makes sense – no one can say he doesn’t have lots of ideas floating around that big noggin. But for now, those ideas sound better on the radio, not on this album.
(Posted: Apr 2, 2007)
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