"9th Inning"

The duo responsible for this century's most wacked-out and visionary party music is back with two songs from Elliott's upcoming first album in seven years – but the mood is not quite celebratory. Timbaland's beats (his finest in some time) have a dark cast, with classical flourishes brooding over minor keys and the usual woozy, oddly accented beats and blips. The lyrics find Missy in a defensive crouch: "Thought I fell off?/Ain't quite finished," she raps in "9th Inning." In the moderately more upbeat "Triple Threat," we get a hint of the old goofy braggart: "I'm a pretty diva/Call me señorita..../Hits like Venus and Serena."

Listen to "9th Inning":

From The Archives Issue 1167: October 11, 2012