19 years ago at the peak of his career, George Michael released an album called Listen Without Prejudice to indicate listeners should toss aside frivolous notions about who or what he seemed to represent and simply listen to the music inside. This would be a great motto for the Black Eyed Peas to adopt with their fifth studio album. Toss aside previous attacks on the group and attempts to dismiss their role in today's pop music world. Simply listen to The E.N.D. and there is great pop pleasure to be found.
Rhythm and Melody
The true gift of the Black Eyed Peas in evidence on The E.N.D. is not a party attitude, Fergie's vocals or the audacity of will.i.am's sampling and borrowing from other recordings. It is that on The E.N.D. the Black Eyed Peas demonstrate that great pop music is ultimately constructed of the two primary elements of memorable melody and rhythm that produces a kinetic response. Both are in great abundance here.
The massive hit "Boom Boom Pow" which kicks off The E.N.D. is almost skeletal in its reliance on digital rhythms that stick in the limbs. On the other hand "Meet Me Halfway" features Fergie singing a gorgeous pop melody line. "Immma Be" is another rhythmic exercise that demonstrates hip hop and jazz fusion grooves can be equally effective in inspiring movement. "I Gotta Feelin'" relies on a simple sunny pop melody to spread the joys of plunging headfirst into celebrating the end of the work week.
Black Eyed Peas Flying Without a Net
In a fashion not uncommon for the group. The Black Eyed Peas frequently feel like the musical equivalent of a trapeze artist flying without a net. Sometimes will.i.am and company indulging their musical passions results in silliness like the social networking laundry list that tries to pass for social commentary on "The Now Generation." Or it brings forth Fergie's toasting on "Electric City" that borders on ridiculous.
More often we get something like the setting in the gorgeous auto-tune edged song "Alive" for a brief reprise of "My Humps" that somehow sounds right. "Party All the Time" finds the group outdoing Disney's pop Svengalis at their own game. "One Tribe" uses an almost naive sounding point of view to put together yet another in a line of stirring calls for universal oneness by the Black Eyed Peas.
Top Tracks on 'The E.N.D.'
- "Boom Boom Pow"
- "Meet Me Halfway"
- "I Gotta Feelin'"
- "Party All the Time"
- "Simple Little Melody"
Summer Begins With 'The E.N.D.'
There is no other current album that is a more fitting set to kick off a summer of great musical fun than the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D.. There are tracks that will sound great in the car, others at the beach, and still others rocking a dance club. Summer is the time for music keyed into the pleasures of life. Few current pop artists are more committed to mining that vein than the Black Eyed Peas
Released June 2009 by Interscope