“There’s moments where Timbaland tries to rescue the sinking ship, but then you remember the song is just one huge orgy”
Digital Release: October 10, 2011
Physical Release: N/A
When it comes to the realm of dance MCs who’ve defined the last ten years of the genre, Timbaland is clearly the front-runner by a country mile. He’s usually been savvy enough to realise that no amount of celebrity status can continually sell music if said music simply isn’t that good – and he’s always appeared to realise this, letting his beats do most of the heavy lifting. He’s also had the balls to venture out into a more experimental form of the genre he commands, with sounds and samples that his inferiors such as will.i.am., David Guetta and RedOne wouldn’t dare touch. And even when Timbaland fails to resist the urge to open his mouth on his records it’s only ever been innocuously catchy.
But that was pre-2007. He can’t be hailed as any kind of pinaacle of dance music visionary anymore. When Tim’s shit goes wrong, it’s not so easy to define quite where the issue lies. Instead of a clear cut route to the heart of the problem, there’s an indecipherable net of haphazardness to wade through. It’s a bit like trying to un-knot one of those bouncy balls that comprises only of elastic bands. It’s hard to imagine just where the line between something that has few redeeming factors and is therefore marginally acceptable even by today’s music standards and something that exists only to have an entire dictionary passage of negative adjectives gratuitously bestowed upon it, is drawn. Any one would simply say that the reason ‘Pass At Me’ fails at every hurdle to be anything of the past genius Timbaland has turned out is because of Pitbull continuing his offensively hedonistic omnipresence, but even then it’s an obscure blur of an explanation as to why the song is such an embarrassment. That said, “She does what I want; she does what I need/She lives on her knees” should give you a vague impression.
Of course, there’s moments where Timbaland tries to rescue the sinking ship, but then you remember the song is just one huge orgy with everyone participating sounding like they’re fucking an auto-tune machine, too busy to give a shit about what anything sounds like. Timbaland attacks the song with more zeal than a 14-year old caught up in an Anime forum message war; he was probably frothing at the mouth just producing it. But simply peddling the scary deep-voiced robot and giving the impression he has a more limited English vocabulary than Pitbull (there’s only so many times you can hear “Hey girl, I like what your doing, with all the booty/Oh-oh my god” before you realise he’s nothing much else to add) shows that even geniuses mess up, it’s just that Timbaland has a knack for doing it catastrophically well. But in retrospect, it’s not worth getting angsty about ‘Pass At Me’s conceited debauchery taking up residence in any chart because in two weeks time no-one will be listening to it – David Guetta does have an album of his own material to promote, you know.