Ancient Maneaters of the Future

The year's best-selling album made mass culture sound vapid; the year's hottest auteur made vapidity sound transcendent

Maybe it wasn't quite so momentous, but Timbaland also managed the near-impossible feat of turning the Canadian folk-pop warbler Nelly Furtado into a flirty electro ingénue with "Promiscuous" and "Maneater." It's almost unbelievable that Timbaland is just now digging deep into his bizarro-pop fantasies, 10 years after his name first rang bells. In a time when the star has all but gone extinct, the last pop auteur may be the big-money producer who gets weirder as he gets bigger. Maybe one day we'll even get to hear his take on show music.

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