Timbaland Presents Shock Value (Blackground/Interscope)

Tim Mosley's megalomania is totally justified. He's among the most consistently inventive producers of the past decade, and recent hits on which he's both dial-twister and co-star have raised his profile even higher. However, Shock Value proves he's a better supporting player than a main attraction — and his attempts to stretch into new stylistic areas stretch his credibility instead. Granted, there are plenty of masterful arrangements here: Take the martial chorale heard throughout the 50 Cent-Tony Yayo number "Come and Get Me." But Timbaland's monotonal flow clogs up regularly and grows tiresome, and his over-reliance on the same heavy synth tones he used on smashes by Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake doesn't make new collabs such as "Give It to Me" seem poppin' fresh. Worse by far, though, are hybrids like the snoozy Elton John featurette "2 Man Show" and the disastrous faux-rocker "One and Only," which will leave anyone who's occasionally tried to defend Fall Out Boy with absolutely nothing to say. If that's a shock, it certainly isn't a pleasant one.

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