Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Album Review: Black Eyed Peas - The Beginning (1/5)

If any album were to receive the award for the most un-original, pretentious, annoying half-baked take on a wore-out outlook of generic electronic pop music, it would be American hip-hop/pop group the Black Eyed Peas’ sixth album The Beginning, the follow-up to 2009’s sales accumulating The E.N.D. an album which did experiment with fun feel-good electro-pop, landing the hits “I Gotta Feeling” and the wonderful hollowing mid-tempo “Meet Me Halfway.”

Supposedly, The Beginning is in fact taking its cue from that album, but it’s not a fun futuristic experiment with electro-pop, it’s just lazy. Blaring electronic bass lines, dance beats and generic lyrics, It’s not even a sound that waits for the mid-point to wear out because it’s already worn-out— just recycled over and over again to point where you have to ask yourself: Is actual futuristic music going to be this apathetic, conceited and irritatingly unsatisfying?

The Dirty Dancing, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes sampling “The Time (Dirty Bit)” gets the “party” started—choppy vocals, bland electronic undertones and pounding bass lines—they say “I’m having a good time with you,” what? And that’s the most exciting way you could phrase that? Well, I’m not. Try harder. “Light Up the Night” is equally as bland—pounding bass lines, in fact when it starts that’s all there is, until the drums and some chanting kick in. Will.i.am says “hot beats pumping out the box, yeah turn it up,” just because you say it doesn’t make it true, there’s nothing hot or marginally exciting about this track.

There’s no let up as “Love You Long Time” is just as, possible even more terrible and pretentious. For the most part Will.I.am and a pitch-corrected Fergie sing back and forth the title over a keyboards and bass lines. Kinetic hand claps, ‘80s-influenced backdrops and synths front “XOXOXO” and a penetrating synth-driven dance beats, handclaps just about do the same for “Someday,” where the lyrics get even more deplorable (“I’m ‘bout to get, ‘bout to get get get it. Can’t do it small because I’m big big Willie”). David Guetta produced “Don’t Stop the Party;” more generic blaring electronic bass lines and lyrics about partying.

And to add insult to injury, there’s some generic hip-hop thrown in here too, “Do It Like This” with a prominent hip-hop beat re-calling American rapper J-Kwon’s only hit “Tipsy.” Fergie takes the lead on synth-ringing David Guetta production “The Best One Yet (The Boy)” lyrically attempting to showcase celebration, happiness etc. Closing the album is “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Play It Loud” and at this point, I’m really too bored and unimpressed to really care.

In fact the only 2 songs on here that I liked, even a little bit were “Whenever” a rich synth-driven and bass production, with some piano chords and guitar strings fitted in here and there and “Fashion Beats,” which sounds like a genuine inspired dance number. Why couldn’t there have been more of those on here?

Lazy, uninspired, half-baked electronic tripe—easily one of the worst albums of the year. The band described this album as “a fresh new perspective” The E.N.D. was a fresh new perspective, this is the kind of bullcrap you would make in a studio after having one too many vodka shots or if you were at that point in your career where making good inspired music wasn’t a factor anymore. In fact this should have been called The End (The Energy iNevitably Dies) I did say in my review that the title was misleading.

6 comments:

ww_adh said...

Are you alright? This is a really harsh review coming from you, especially given how much you liked The END. I listened to this yesterday, and wasn't that impressed (I probably won't review it). But a 1? And you were so hard on Ne-Yo too.

J.Mensah said...

Honestly, I'm not alright lol--but I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that this album sucks and 1/5 suits it fine I think.

rcLoy said...

I like this side of you J! Total badass and gangsta! Grrr!!
I salute the fact you start your review by describing the album in such a "classy" manner. *clap clap clap*

K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K said...

I am amazed at this negativity/hostility. I have listened to the album and am loving every song. My kids do too (15 and 18). What would you have them do. This is in my opinion a very well made follow up for the E.N.D. I dont see or hear any pretence in this album. So what is you problem...

J.Mensah said...

@K - I'll admit I was kinda harsh when I wrote this and a bit unfair. After a few more spins of this album it isn't as "pretencious" as I described it. I'm glad you and your kids are enjoying it!