Even music's most inventive minds take a step in the wrong direction every now and then.

Even music's most inventive minds take a step in the wrong direction every now and then. That seems to be the case with Elliott's fourth studio set, Under Construction. A constant innovator, Elliott, with help from production partner Timbaland, has time and again changed the way we hear hip-hop, R&B, and pop. Previous singles like "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," "Hot Boyz," and last year's smash "Get Ur Freak On" have showcased Elliott's uniqueness as both an artist and a producer. Under Construction's lead single, "Work It," follows in that vein. Produced by Timbaland and Elliott, the complex, infectious single is already climbing toward the top of the charts. Unfortunately, the rest of the album never quite hits that mark again. "Play Dat Beat" and "P***ycat" would be good radio-ready records for most artists, but are beneath Elliott. At other times, guests like Beyoncé Knowles and Ms. Jade steal the songstress' thunder on "Nothing Out There" and "Funky Fresh Dressed," respectively. That said, Elliott fans will find solace in a loose cover of Method Man's "Bring the Pain," which features the rapper, and a "Work It" remix featuring up-and-coming rapper 50 Cent.—RH

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