6.14.2009

The Black Eyed Peas, THE E.N.D.

The Black Eyed Peas return with their hip hop-pop stylings with The E.N.D. This is the band's first new album since 2005, and it seems designed for party and radio airplay.

All the members of the Black Eyed Peas are back -- Will.I.Am, Fergie, Taboo, and Apl de Ap -- but the real star of The E.N.D. may be the technolgy. The album's title acronym stands for "energy never dies" and that energy could be the juice powering the drum machines and synthesizers that are omnipresent here. Heck, the brief song "Electric City" lists all the devices that go into making the music.

Anyway, with songs like "Rock That Body," "Party All the Time" and "Rockin to the Beat" it's clear that the Black Eyed Peas aren't shooting for high art here. What they do is mostly party fluff, whether Will.I.Am is rapping about being surrounded by ladies, Fergie is pretending to be too drunk to remember the lyrics ("Out of My Head"), or the words "ring-a-ling" being sung far too often. Towards the end of The E.N.D. there is some unexpected depth -- the world-peace song "One Tribe" is uplifting, while "Now Generation" is either celebrating or mocking the technologically-driven, a.d.d. culture of today -- but for the most part this is more techno and swagga' than creative and involving. The Target-exclusive version, pictured above, comes with several new songs and remixed, but they are no better or worse than the regular album. (Disclaimer: I work for Target. And I'm a natural redhead.)

The E.N.D. has its moments, but the repetitious format of most of the music makes this best put on in the background of a party, or on the dance floor at a club, if you're playing it start to finish. There are a few songs I liked, but just as many blend together.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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