Peas pump up the phunk

By Marc Davies

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[Pic: www.visionaryartistrymag.com]

Arguably still the dominating force on the alternative hip-hop scene,
the Black Eyed Peas have returned with what appears to be the
younger, less-experienced sibling of their previous hit album The
E.N.D
. Despite this, the eccentric quartet have achieved moderate
commercial success with The Beginning through employing a mash-up of
Euro-electro, techno, hip-hop sounds strikingly reminiscent of their
previous chart-topping album.

The album initially impressed listeners, reaching number six on the
Billboard 200 top album chart after debuting with a dubbed-up
rendition of the Dirty Dancing classic Time of My Life. The
Peas latest is a tapestry of musical colours at times, exploring a
multiplicity of instrumental and electronic sounds. The tracks range
in melodic texture from a juxtaposition of strings and electro to
piano, drum and base mash-ups.  Undoubtedly a selection of tracks for
the electro or techno club scene, will.I.am leads a particularly
enticing performance in Don’t Stop the Party which possibly best
encapsulates the protruding party theme of the album.

Although maintaining relatively dynamic compositions, The Beginning
still does a great injustice to its predecessors such as Monkey
Business
(2005) and Elephunk (2003) with its lacklustre, tiresome
lyrics. Feeble phrasing such as will.I.am’s ‘I got these haters on
my back, haters on my back’ in The Coming could well lead fans to
believing the group rushed the product, attempting to release a
chart-dominating compilation months before it would be possible to
attain refined quality. Even diehard Peas fans may agree that the
album’s imaginative melodic flair is shadowed by ‘high school
talent show-quality’ lyrics.

Despite mostly satisfactory performances from the group’s sole
female member Fergie (whose inclusion may have saved the album from
total ruin), the group’s lyrical choices reflect a disappointing
complacency amongst the Peas’ song writers and producers.
Nevertheless, songs like Just can’t get enough and Light up the
night
carry the album where its other tracks, such as Do it like
this
, fail to garner respectable music lovers’ attention. Light up
the night
, through combining a ‘hi-hat’ symbol sound with an
80s-vibe melody line and dub-dominant bridge, achieves a unique sound
worthy of a woofer and repeat button. Another album standout,
Someday, generates a ballad-like track through an innovative
combination of strings, guitar and synthesiser sounds supported by
some of The Beginning’s better vocals. Overuse of autotune and
premature lyrics in many other tracks, however, fatigues the overall
Black Eyed Peas product.

The Beginning in no way matches the jazzy, lyrically dynamic works
of 2005’s Monkey Business, such as Like That and additionally
Don’t phunk with my heart. If a solid club sound is what the ear
craves, this album may quench your musical thirst momentarily, but
essentially fails to meet the expectations generated by former
B.E.P. hits.


[Video: www.youtube.com | BlackEyedPeasVevo]

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