The Black Eyed Peas have a fever and the only prescription is more autotune!
Still preaching their hard-partying ways, BEP refuse to call it a night and are back with a fourth (Fergie-included) album, ironically titled The Beginning.
Having been made obnoxiously clear, Will.i.am, Fergie, Apl.de.ap, and Taboo like to go out every night, party all the time, get crunk, etc. Not much has changed since their precursor album, The E.N.D., in terms of lyrical content, but I give points for some harmonious creativity and mild experimentation with beats. (Although, The Beginning does sound like a second-part continuation of said previous album.) The 15-track listing is a hodgepodge of songs, some sounding like fillers, all blending into the next with little realization, creating a consistent party playlist for those lazy house party DJs. With perhaps a slightly more mature sound than The E.N.D., Will’s voice overwhelms the majority of the record, banging out rhymes on each track; literally. Each line rhymes with the next. It’s a non-stop poetry session up in here. That hint of hip-hop is all that is left of the vintage Elephunk-y Peas fans initially got hooked on.
The first track on the record is this album’s debut single, The Time, which samples Dirty Dancing‘s The Time of My Life. The lyrics are sometimes kitschy and repetitive, but always feel-good a la The Best One Yet (The Boy), which sounds like a potential single. It is this round’s I Gotta Feeling – you just know DJs everywhere will be blasting it at 2AM, penetrating the drunken souls of glittered-out girls hugging each other, all “This is the best night of my life!” while they climb onto the club’s couches.“The night’s young and we raise our glass, we’ll make it count like the best we’ve ever had.” If I Gotta Feeling was a pre-drinking anthem, The Best One Yet is definitive of the evening’s result.
Although the album carries a relatively light-hearted theme, each track is questionably overdosed with autotune. I assume it is purely for show, as Fergie’s voice is powerful enough to do without the slightly overpowering and unnecessary effects. The unrequired is prevalent on melodic tracks Whenever and The Situation, two songs which come closest to horizon-expansion with touches of guitar. A similar situation with 70s disco-esque Fashion Beats, which makes me want to take my gold lamé hot shorts booty to the roller rink, while Fergie coos over a mix of old school beats and, of course, the ‘E’ word. In Just Can’t Get Enough, I hear a hint of Cyndi Lauper in her voice, something I would like more of. 80s throwback, what’s up! Unabashedly a huge fan of Fergie’s, I am slightly disappointed in her lack of pure vocals on this particular record. I’m still campaigning for that solo rock rekkid, Fergs!
Based on this current album, BEP may as well be renamed Will & The Peas; most tracks sound like Fergie, Apl, and Taboo are simply doing guest drops on a Will.i.am project. Also, being the professional superstar producer that I am, I would like to see a bit more of a transition into other genres, rather than a straight-up focus on obliterating us with mainstream music’s current obsession; all-electro-everything is not a good look. Nor a super fresh one. (Say electro again. Electro.) Some tracks have so much piled onto one that they sound like confusing, sporadic mash-ups; they may have done better focusing on one aspect, creating a simpler, more definable song, versus overly ambitious layering. On top of that, it sometimes sounds like they are just pulling freestyle rhymes out of midair and/or sourcing their older tracks, specifically on the subject of “haters”. I suppose I’m just a tad suspect of songs that are about how good that said song is.
That being said, my favourites off this new album would have to be the two longest tracks. Firstly, Do It Like This, which hints at a slight progression toward the dubstep genre. Fast forward to the 3-minute mark and the tune takes on a whole new life with a wicked drop, sounding like a completely separate song. We can’t forget some hilariously wannabe hardcore phrases to go along with it; “You can’t rock it like me, bitch, you need to shut the fuck up!” Though it is a little bit difficult to take those sort of lines seriously when you have pixelated cartoon characters represented on your album cover, guys. Just saying.
And then there’s Don’t Stop The Party, a 6-minute saga about not stopping the party… and stuff. The tune is very club district jump-dance anthem fun, minus the confusing heavy edit of Fergie’s voice to sound positively trannylicious. That eyebrow-raising situation aside, the beat provides a good base for various remixes.
Final track Play It Loud is a lovely end to the album; it’s a Will.i.am solo song, but has a great catchy melody and consistent beat throughout. Another end-of-the-evening lullaby for club-goers and drunk ironics alike. “I pledge my allegiance to rhythm and sound…”
Seemingly focused on making music for the majority of the masses, The Black Eyed Peas have a formula for success on lock. Welcome to… the beginning?
“Why you drink vodka if you got a weak liver?” – The Black Eyed Peas, Do It Like This