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Monday, February 09, 2004

Straight Outta Virginia 

Sasha Frere-Jones writes a long article about the fact that three producers from Virginia Beach produced every pop song of the last five years. It's a pretty authoritative account of Timbaland and the Neptunes' rise to world domination. Frere-Jones notes how many Grammy noms they got, saying "Tonight's Grammy Awards ceremony will, among other things, christen Virginia Beach as the birthplace of a certain sound, something like Detroit's claim to 60's pop-soul or Seattle's to 90's grunge." Though Timbaland and Missy were unfortunately robbed at the Grammies. He also recounts an anecdote about musical cross-pollination before the Neptunes blew up: ''It was 1999, and Missy and Tim were working on Missy's 'Da Real World.' Chad and Pharrell were working on Kelis, and they were doing 'Caught Out There.' ''
They especially liked the song's chorus, Coleman said. ''Tim and Missy could hear Kelis screaming, 'I hate you so much right now!' They had their ears right up to the door. They loved that song. Tim was like, 'That's crazy.' Then they went right back to work.''

Around page 6, he gets Timbaland and Pharell to fight, and their disses of each other are fairly entertaining. But not as entertaining as Timbaland's taste in music: asked him what he likes.

'' 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' he quickly answered. ''I was at the Trump in New York, and my assistant Mike was cutting my hair. I was watching 'O Brother.' I was laughing my butt off. And the song came on -- 'I am a man of constant sorrow . . . ' -- and I was like, 'This song is hot.' Next thing you know, I bought the CD and I would bump it in my car just the way it was. People would look at me like, This dude gotta be crazy. No, I wasn't, because this record gonna sell about 10 million. And what happened? It sold 10 million!'' (It sold 6.6 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)
''The best music right now is country music,'' he went on. ''The old country music, the old bluegrass stuff -- the lyrics in that stuff are incredible. And the damn melodies? Think about Bonnie Raitt. She's country, right? She made the illest song ever, 'I Can't Make You Love Me.' '' He sang me a line: ''Turn down the lights, turn down the bed/Turn down these voices inside my head.''
Timbaland also thinks Pat Benatar's ''Love Is a Battlefield'' is the ''illest song ever,'' and he adores old hits by Men at Work and the Human League. ''Eighties music is music to me,'' he said. ''Those are records that make you feel good, you know? I'm tired of stuff now, even stuff that I do. Coldplay and Radiohead are the illest groups to me. That's music. Norah Jones is music. I love real music that I can play and never get tired of. The stuff I don't get tired of is the stuff that's musical.''

Between this and Jay-Z showing love to Coldplay, I think hip-hop is dead. Long live hip-hop. Bubba Sparxxx's Timbaland produced album actually sounds like the O Brother soundtrack mixed with hip-hop, and the Deliverance video is a bizarre take-off on the film. Who had the brilliant idea to make a rap video based on a three-year old arthouse film, anyways?You'd think a song named Deliverance would have a video based on the more popular movie Deliverance, and how many people like Bubba Sparxxx and the Coen Brothers anyways (outside of me and Timbaland, that is)? Timbaland plays the pseudo-Robert Johnson guy in the video, and while he is a genius, he really really cannot play guitar. Anyways, read the whole thing.


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