Timbaland made a pretty big splash with his initial Shock Value release, churning out three smash hit singles with each “The Way I Are” (feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.), “Apologize” (feat. One Republic), and “Give It To Me” (feat. Nelly Furtado). The album went platinum, selling well over 1.1 million copies during it’s first year of release, so naturally a sequel was in order. Despite Shock Value’s massive success, as a whole, the album was not that great, suffering lukewarm to poor reviews from the critical mass, however we doubt Tim was that offended.
Shock Value II aims to capture a piece of the action that the first volume did, as Tim slaps together 17 tracks of varying styles and sounds, yet all with the signature Timbaland bounce. As usual, the extensive guest list accompanies, as Tim gathers longtime collaborators like Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado for ready-made club-bangers like the knocking “Carry Out” and the ultra-catchy “Morning After Dark”, not to mention One Republic with the less-than-stellar “Marching On”.
Always changing with the times, many of the platinum selling hit-makers of the last year also make appearances, however with mixed results. Drake seems to fit in so naturally on the soothing “Say Something”, however Miley Cyrus’ forced attempt at carving out another generic pop hit with “We Belong To Music” is like nails on a chalk-board. While there is probably some minor intersection between the two artists’ respective fanbases, this super-diversified collection of artists does not make for a cohesive album.
Still, there are some great moments here, despite the album’s mix-and-match formula. The Timberlake-esque “Tommorrow In A Bottle” (feat. Chad Kroeger & Sebastian) has “hit” written all over it, as the juxtaposition of Tim’s urban sound and Chad’s gruff rock vocals make for a good combination. Meanwhile, some of the albums strongest moments are owed to Timbo’s lesser known collaborators. Each “Meet In Tha Middle” (feat. Brand Nu), “Lose Control” (feat. Jojo), and “Ease Off The Liquor” (feat. Melody Thornton) feature Tim in the driver’s seat, while his new co-pilots back him up with stars in their eyes.
The big problem with this record however is it’s lack of cohesiveness. After ten tracks of Tim’s brand of pop-jam, he goes for the adult-contemporary rock crowd, with tracks like “Long Way Down” (feat. Daughtry), “Marchin’ On” (feat. One Republic), and “Timothy Where You Been?” (feat. Jet….These guys still exist?). It’s a risky move for Tim, in hopes of carving out another “Apologize” – if it works, he’s got another platinum album under his belt, but if it doesn’t he’s just got another critically panned record. Things don’t improve from there, however, as he circles back-around into the urban arena for the last two tracks – a questionable interpolation of Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” on “The One I Love” (feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) and a blasphemous cover of Marley Marl’s “The Symphony”, featuring the all-star line up of Attitude, Bran’Nu, and D.O.E., who are no Juice Crew.
While Tim’s sound may not have evolved much since the last album, the current sound of club and pop music has, which may result in poor sales this time around. Yet with 17 tracks deep, and a guest list that spans everyone Katy Perry to DJ Felli Fel, Tim’s bound to find a few hits to keep him relevant in an ever-changing industry – DJ Pizzo
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