Timbaland: Shock Value II

RIYL: Scott Storch, Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams

It has the Roman numeral II after its title, but Timbaland’s latest effort has more in common with the artistically bankrupt misery common to watered-down later sequels – think “The Karate Kid III,” “Jason X,” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” – than any mere sophomore jinx can explain. As with 2007’s Shock Value, Timbaland assembles an eclectic-by-modern-standards group of guest vocalists to try and create a sort of jukebox effect; problem is, the once-innovative producer didn’t bother to come up with any interesting beats, and most of the artists in question – including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and the dreaded Chad Kroeger – don’t have enough personality to carry these pedestrian tracks on their own.


All things considered, there really should be some shock value in Timbaland collaborating with the likes of Daughtry and Jet, but there isn’t a song in the bunch that feels like anything more than calculated pandering, and the album lacks the kind of savvy songcraft that makes this kind of blatant soullessness forgivable. As competent as it is deeply unmemorable, Shock Value II will probably squeak out a few hits, but that’ll be more about the marquee value of participants like Justin Timberlake and Drake than anything to do with the music. Modern R&B at its most mechanized and least inspired. (Interscope/Mosley 2009)

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