Review : Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D.
EwAs far as titles go, the words behind the Black Eyed Peas' fifth-album acronym feel downright unnecessary. The Energy Never Dies? Ever since the group's three core members transformed themselves from a middling conscious-rap outfit into the platinum hip-pop juggernaut of 2003's breakout Elephunk, featuring lithesome onetime child star Stacy ''Fergie'' Ferguson, their energy has appeared to be virtually unkillable. Indeed, indefatigable Auto-Tune anthems like The E.N.D.'s propulsive lead single, ''Boom Boom Pow'' (already the band's most successful to date), seem fueled by some mysterious slurry of dance-floor plutonium and diet Red Bull.
For those without access to the Peas' power smoothie, repeated exhortations to be a ''Ring-a-ling,'' ''Party All the Time,'' and ''Rock That Body'' (featuring a sizable chunk of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's 1988 classic ''It Takes Two'') can grow exhausting. And yet, the BEPs are — to borrow from those other old-school greats, A Tribe Called Quest — ''devoted to the art of moving butts,'' and even if they do it with a minimum of subtlety and pacing, they still do it pretty well. Group mastermind will.i.am's attempt at social commentary on ''Now Generation'' comes off more like an ''I just got DSL!'' laundry list (''MySpace and your space/Facebook is that new place...Google is my professor/Wikipedia checker''). But when the group's glitchy future-funk beats sync up with Fergie's unabashedly feminine melodies, as on the sweetly insidious ''Meet Me Halfway,'' they find pure Top 40 nirvana. B...full text
LatimesThe Los Angeles-based quartet Black Eyed Peas is possibly the greatest bubble gum group of the Extreme Ice Fruit Explosion era. Following in the path forged by the Monkees, the Archies and the Spice Girls, the Peas present themselves as a cast of zany characters whose music is, on one level, like a child's game, and on another, as calculatedly smart and seductive as test-marketed pop gets.
The titles of the Peas' biggest hits tell the story: the giggle-inducing pun of "Don't Phunk With My Heart," the cheerily crude anatomical gesture of "My Humps" and now the Imax-ready sound effects burst of the chart-topping "Boom Boom Pow." Crass, good-hearted, funny, unfailingly loud scavengers of every shiny thing lying on pop's cross-cultural dance floor, the Peas present themselves as juvenile, but there's a lot going on behind the mugging.
"The E.N.D.," the group's fifth studio album and the third since the singer Stacy Ferguson (better known as Fergie) joined and took it from the earnest hip-hop underground to the glamorous, necessarily compromised pop mainstream, is more accomplished and more confounding than any of the foursome's previous efforts. It's likely to dominate radio and the Internet this summer, its sharp flavors simultaneously driving listeners nuts and drawing them back....full text
Guardianalbum, a male voice intones: "There is no longer a physical record store." The Black Eyed Peas anticipate a future in which albums are fluid, download-only constructions that will be regularly supplemented by new mixes of every track. Yet new mixes of The E-N-D are the last thing we need: there is too much to absorb here already. Many of these electro-pop-rap tracks sound as though they were recorded with DJs in mind, rather than fans. Songs stop and start; Fergie's voice, as bombastic as Mariah Carey's, fades in and out; the male Peas drop raps apparently at random. As on their recent No 1 single, Boom Boom Pow, electronic clicks and buzzes are used lavishly, and the mood is as positive as ever. Just don't expect to love it immediately....full text
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