Loose

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While Missy Elliott cooks with the Neptunes, Timbaland is out to prove he can produce an omnipop multiformat blockbuster in the style of Gwen Stefani's Love Angel Music Baby — but without Gwen. Instead, he passes the mike to Canadian chirper Nelly Furtado, a mighty strange choice for an R&B goddess, but that's Timbaland for you. Furtado had a dodgy 2001 pop hit you might remember, the ornithologically themed "I'm Like a Bird." But she disappeared instantly, and by now you'd expect her to be on a reality show, sharing a Miami Beach condo with Meredith Brooks and Paula Cole. Timbaland brings her back on Loose to scat her quirky high-school-musical vocals over his mostly Eighties beats — what's he been listening to, Ready for the World? Highlights include their garish sex duet "Promiscuous" and the reggaeton rip "No Hay Igual." "Maneater" is not a Hall and Oates cover, but it bumps hard enough to qualify as a sequel, and that's high praise indeed.

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