Album review: The Black eyed peas - The E.N.D

Album review: The Black eyed peas - The E.N.D
As with so many other artists now-a-days that it'd be pointless for me to name them all, The Black eyed peas (or rather the driving force behind their sound: will.i.am) succumbs the group to a load of vocal manipulation, pitch correction and auto-tune. To say their #1 hit single "Boom Boom Pow" sets the tone for the entire album wouldn't be a far off statement, because it honestly does.

The first song after "Boom Boom Pow", "Rock that body" is full of Daft Punk style synth work, auto-tune and pitch shifting (and features production from David Guetta of "When love takes over" fame). "Imma be" again runs pitch shifting into the ground. And as with "Boom Boom Pow" consists of a chorus which has a pitch corrected voice saying the song title over and over and over enough times that the whole damn song bleeds into nothing but "Imma be, Imma be, Imma-Imma-Imma be". "Ring-a-ling" again, auto tune, pitch correction and a chorus of nothing but "Ring-a-ling, a-ling, ling. Ring-a-ling, a-ling, ling". Need I go on? Half of the album seems to adhere to a rule of at least 3 minutes of synths, auto tune and constant repetition of the song's title. It's almost as though will.i.am knows the songs aren't memorable, so resorts to tactics to keep the song in your head for more than a minute. It works. And makes the hooks easy to remember when you're drunk in a club. But doesn't necessarily make for good songs.

Only when the album takes a step back from the whole overly club vibe do songs begin to really shine. "Meet me halfway" is f**king awesome. Sounding like something straight out of a hot flick from the 80's. Fergie's vocals are perfect and set the whole thing off. The guys verses are a mess, but the music and the chorus are so hot that you let it slide. "Alive" sounds like a cross between the generic club tripe on the album with the more melodic throwback stylings of "Meet me halfway". A nice song. For thsoe who don't like much of the group's new style and like more of what they brought to the table with their past 2 albums: there's "I gotta felling" and "Showdown". "I gotta feeling" is a song you can't help but like and will jump around like a lunatic to in the club. I know I have. "Showdown" is a dark club jam. Not much to it, but a good 'un with a set of drums that'll get you swaggin'.

The problem with The E.N.D is that it feels too much like a guilty pleasure. You'll listen to the album and like it whilst you're listening to it and bubbling it out to the beats - which are hot. But when the music stops you won't really want to admit that you like the songs all that much, because they're full of such nonsense and have no lasting substance. The album has no real lasting impression, or quality to it that'll have you playing it years from now.

The one wholly positive aspect of The E.N.D is will.i.am's production, which is incredibly tight. The songs themselves aren't always great, or even good. But dude has skills in the studio. The beats are tight and bring the energy and excitement that BEP themselves don't always bring with delivery. You can definitely sense the group's lack of enthusiasm in many of the songs. There are very few (if any) songs on the album that feature the high energy delivery of past hits such as "Pump it", the sharpness of "Shut up" or the warmth and honesty of "Where is the love?". On a real? If half of the songs on the album were instrumentals, the songs probably would've been a whole lot better. Because BEP's whack lyrics and dusty delivery ruins songs that otherwise could've been really, really good. There isn't that cohesiveness between the group's verses and flows as there was on songs from Elephunk and Monkey business.

For fans who were perhaps hoping for more of what BEP came with for their last 2 albums may be put off by the electro-pop vibe, constant auto-tune and will.i.am's penchant for having words be repeated over and over on song choruses as many have done since Lil' Wayne's "A milli". The E.N.D isn't complete shit, but it is a pretty boring album which leaves no real impression on you after you've listened to it.

4 out of 10
Album highlights
■ Rock that body
■ Meet me halfway J's fave
■ Imma be
■ Missing you
■ Showdown
■ Rockin' to the beat
■ Don't bring me down

2 comments:

  1. This was probably one of the most honest reviews I've ever seen by anyone! But, you didn't give it a score like your last ones...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Imma be and Boom Boom Pow are the only songs I like.

    ReplyDelete

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