Tweet – “Oops (Oh My)”

Released: 1.15.02

Peak: #27

Every beatmaster has his own strengths, so let’s just put it this way: The Neptunes could never have scored as steamy an exercise in female self-pleasure as “Oops (Oh My).” No need to be all hypothetical about it either: “I am/ Get-ting so hot/ I’m gonna take my clothes off” is a far coo from “Oops, there goes my shirt,” even if each murmur sounds the involuntary product of a hypnotic swoon. The male gaze of “Hot in Herre” set the scene for the decade’s strip-club chic, though few subsequent hits in this vein would feature Nelly’s flirty charm.

But no one crafts “female” grooves like Timbaland–the discrete elements of his tracks fold inward, drawing the listener toward the productions’ open spaces. The constant throughout “Oops” is the bass drop followed by a four-beat drum like a knock at the door. As the track builds, those delighted guitar squiggles come to echo Tweet’s self-exploration, and the syncopated voices–first high-pitched (female?) then low- (male?)–envelop the singer’s own voice.

Its female intimacy renders “Oops (Oh My)” particularly inhospitable to a male guest rap. Missy fits in as Tweet’s whispery alter ego. But the great Bubba Sparxxx sounds like an ad for his own record, and as for the un-great Fabolous, any woman who could disrobe, let alone climax as he conducts his egocentric spelling lesson must have a hair trigger clit. (“Oops, there goes my kids all over your face, oh my” — jerk off on your own time, scuzz.)

Besides, revealing the identity of Tweet’s phantasmal suitor fucks with the song’s conceit, and makes nonsense of her mysterious query “Who could this be?” “Oops (Oh My)” is a safe-sex ghost story, as Tweet’s recollected desire (possibly) generates a demon lover who (possibly) appears as Tweet’s double. Creepy stuff, and hot. And as Tweet’s self-pleasure grows inseparable from the pleasures of the track, “Oops (Oh My)” makes explicit just how much R&B that pretends to seduce its listener is ultimately masturbatory.

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