But really, Bob, is it that hard to just ask a lady’s name, especially when you’re already dancing with her?
“Anonymous” was the best of Timbaland’s trance-rap or hip-house or techno-R&B or some-electronic-music-and-some-urban-music hybrids this year, and it also proved to be the least heralded, leapfrogged by late-breaking singles from Timberlake and Furtado and the songs released under Tim’s own trademark. Why? Well, the song’s throwback beat (two jarring kicks, a fuzzy snap/clap/snare, and a junk drawer full of polyrhythms rattling and beatboxing on top) is closer to the tricky-toed Tim of a decade ago, and maybe the bleepy filigree of the track’s buried keyboard hooks (whose hands were really on the knobs here?) was always going to get steamrolled by his new money-making embrace of grimy waveforms and brutalist pop beats, a fey, spacey song lost in the shadow of the arena-pleasing hugeness of “The Way I Are.” But really? I have no idea why our No. 13 stalled at Billboard‘s No. 49. Label cock-up? General cosmic injustice? Bobby Valentino atoning for the sins of a previous pop life? While I’m sure other Tim hits made more sense this year when your body was upright and moving, there were few earbud moments-in-love more tingly in 2007 than the almost minute-long outro to the album version of “Anonymous.”