Timbaland, "Shock Value II"

47 Billboard Rating

After producing mega-hits by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado in 2006, Timbaland's first "Shock Value" album felt like a well-deserved victory lap upon its release the following year. "Shock Value II" offers another dose of Timbaland's futuristic pop-R&B aesthetic, but the producer pushes even harder to establish himself as a featured artist instead of just a maestro behind the boards. The percussion sizzles, with the track "Morning After Dark" and Timberlake collaboration "Carry Out" immediately competing to burn up dancefloors. The biggest surprise is Timbaland's reliance on Auto-Tune, which turns his rapid-fire musings into slick, slightly awkward crooning. Even if Timbaland hadn't altered his vocals, his voice would still be lost on "Shock Value II" because of an overdependence on guest stars-collaborations with everyone from Miley Cyrus to the Fray stifle the album's flow. "Shock Value II" packs plenty of heat from the layered beats, but never lets Timbaland shine as the artist he wants to become.-Jason Lipshutz

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