Release Date: Apr 3, 2007
Record label: Interscope
The catchiest song on the Timbaland’s Shock and Awe album is ”Give It to Me,” the percolating club hit featuring guest vocals by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado — although to call it a song isn’t quite precise. It’s a victory lap. ”We missed you on the charts last week,” Timberlake sings, taunting less successful stars. In 2006, the Billboard charts became the personal playground of Timberlake and Furtado, who had the good sense to team up with Timbaland, the Virginia Beach-based creator of planet Earth’s most otherworldly beats.
Shock Value would be less of a hot-and-cold affair with a couple more songs in the vein of "Give It to Me." A leisurely club track full of swagger, it is immediate enough to connect on the first listen, while Tim also sneaks in enough subtle layers to make it increasingly insidious with each play. This song isn't lacking bizarreness or complications, either. Furtado's words are benign enough, but it's evident that Timberlake is taking an ignorant shot at Prince, while Timbaland (despite claiming that he is not targeting one specific person) is most likely referring to one-man beat factory slash opportunist Scott Storch.
For a producer with endless platinum discs to his name and a peerless reputation for perfectly balancing commerciality with restless innovation, Tim "Timbaland" Mosley has always cut a strangely unfulfilled figure. Looking at his career, it's hard to avoid the impression that the startling hits he has essayed, for Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, among others, are scant recompense for his failure to become a successful rapper. It's not for want of trying - Shock Value is his fifth solo album - but the public who turn out in their millions to buy his productions elect to stay home when his name appears on the cover.