Shock Value: Not Even a Zap

Image by Interscope Records

Timbaland Presents: Shock Value

Opinions belonging to Luke Hobika

Best tracks: “Give It To Me” “Come And Get Me”

Worst tracks: “Bounce;” “Fantasy;” “2 Man Show”

Who is the mastermind behind the beats that bounce of songs like Jay-Z’s  tropical “Big Pimpin’,” Aaliyah’s addicting “Are You That Somebody,” Justin Timberlake’s futuristic “My Love,” and Genuine’s enticing “Pony?” The answer is Timbaland, a one-man producer from Virginia whose beats are bound to blow any speaker. Given this context, one may think that the title of this album being Shock Value would indicate that the content on the album is so energetic that its sound would be capable of astonishing listeners, right? If Timbaland’s production on separate artists’ works is so acclaimed, then imagine the capacity of praise that would accompany an album of his very own. Yet what the project results in is the complete inverse of what was expected. Instead of being stunned out of amazement, the listener is shocked into a state of disgust.

Timbaland at he Off de Cannes VIP Room in 2007

There is no word to describe Shock Value other than abysmal. First of all, Timbaland is classified as a producer, which provokes the question of why Timbaland thought it would be a smart idea to RAP on an album. Track after track, Timbaland presents himself with a monotonous, simplistic flow accompanied by superficial lyrics that all share the common theme. The subject matter throughout the project reflects that of any recurrent pop anthem that gets unlimited spins on the radio: Man finds woman; Man admits his love for a woman; Man and woman make love; Man and woman either discuss their love for each other’s bodies or develop hostility towards each other; Song ends. The redundancy brings nothing to the listener other than the feeling of irritation. When Timbaland isn’t venturing into this mundane territory, hee is bluntly boasting about the accomplishments with naive rhymes that would be expected from any other braggadocio rapper. honestly, it would be understandable if one were to end their experience with the album after the utterly atrocious fifth track “Bounce.” Not only is the production on this track beyond haphazard, but the verses of Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Justin Timberlake, and Missy Elliot are enough to partially deafen the listener. And it’s a shame that the substance on Shock Value is so appalling that it detracts from the only area of this project that can be enjoyed to some degree, being the production. Even though the beat selection comes off as careless (“Miscommunication” mirrors Timbaland’s contribution to Justin Timberlake’s “Summer Lovin’”), Timbaland’s distinct rhythms offer some diversity to this project when it is compared to other artists’. The dirty clacking of drums backed with a pushy bass and quality vocals from Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado on tracks like “Give It To Me” provide Shock Value with some replay value. Not to mention, the hollow knocks with a calming piano background on One Republic’s “Apologize” offers some level of enjoyment as well. However, when it is comprehended that these two songs out of the sixteen that bloat this album were intended for commercial purposes, their contribution to the overall effect of the project is minuscule.

In the end, the quality in production overshadows that of the dreadful lyrics, but that is an unfair comparison. Yet when put up against the previous commended works by Timbaland himself, both the sound and material on Shock Value offer not a thing, not even a slight jolt.

But that’s just my opinion.

Timbaland Presents: Shock Value
21.1 %
Luke Hobika, '20
When I am not studying, saying hi to you in the halls, or running, you can 100% guarantee that I am analyzing your favorite piece of music, film, or television.
shock-value-not-even-a-zapFor a respected record producer who is behind a number of memorable releases from other artists, Timbaland's solo effort falls to create a spark when it comes to electrifying any sort of mood.