What happens when two Canadian dudes in white suits are pitted against the bodybuilding king of mainstream, hip-hop-flavored pop production? When nostalgic, bedroomy electro pop goes pulse-to-pulse with the beats behind club-shaking, chart-topping hits from Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and a host of other celebrity entertainers?
Is there even a contest?
When the Junior Boys of Hamilton, Ontario, released their debut LP, Last Exit, in 2004, the record’s stuttering two-step style, translated through European electro influences, earned the group comparisons to Timbaland, who had recently established himself as one of the most original and creative new producers in pop music.
But when the latest albums from each are put into the ring, the Junior Boys win by TKO.
2006’s So This Is Goodbye is a synth-steeped, moody masterpiece, replete with tracks suited for dancing, nacking and crying into a snifter of Courvoisier.
“Double Shadow” by Junior Boys from So This Is Goodbye (Domino):
Timbaland’s recent release, Shock Value, ain’t that tasty. Though it’s stuffed full of delectable beats, the record is perhaps most notable for proving once and for all that Timba can’t rap. Or sing. Or be a leading man in any way. Here are a few more reasons that the Junior Boys have more real value than Shock Value.
· Timbaland will tell you to bounce. Repeatedly. Junior Boys will not tell you to bounce. Ever.
· When Junior Boys singer Jeremy Greenblatt croons, My pulse is still/When the doctor’s gone/I think of you, and then I know/What went wrong on “Like a Child,” he sounds sexy. When Timbaland raps, I’m a let these niggas know/I’ve been killin’ ’em with these beats/Now I’m spittin’ these killa flows on “Oh Timbaland,” he sounds like your dad trying to rap.
· The Junior Boys won’t make you listen to Missy Elliott talk about her big fat ass.
· Timbaland, by all accounts, is a lousy performer. The Junior Boys can play their songs live with real instruments — in white suits.
· In the intro banter for “2 Man Show,” Timbaland pretends to stop Elton John from starting to play his piano part early, twice. (“Not yet, Elton … let the beat ride for one second. “) He also tells Sir Elton when to “break it down,” responding with what? and ah to the pop icon’s cheesy, minor-key riffs. Christ, it’s awful. Let’s just say you won’t see the phrase “featuring Fall Out Boy” on any Junior Boys album.
· The Junior Boys cover Frank Sinatra. Timbaland covers going to the club, being a badass and hitting on girls, including an Asian woman he calls “sum yung ho.”