If you are anything like me, your office radio has been a constant onslaught of Boom Boom Pow for the last month or so. At first you were all, “hey this song is catchy” but by now hearing “Gotta Get Get” makes you want to jump out a window. It is therefore with much trepidation that I dove into the Black Eyed Peas latest album, The E.N.D.
After listening to the whole album a few times over, it is obvious that the group is aiming squarely at the dance club and radio market. Quite a few of the songs are instant hits and with incredibly catchy beats and hooks. At the same time, some tracks feel over produced and use way too much voice morphing. I saw the band perform Boom Boom Pow live on a US talk show and without all the electronica laid over their voices, the song actually sounded infinitely better. I’m sure that the use of this technique is purely an artistic decision but it also feels a little like they lack confidence in their singing abilities and try to mask it with over producing.
The strengths of the album definitely lie in the beats and arrangements that Will.i.am has laid down. The lyrics of many of the songs are largely inconsequential and, at times, are lazy or plain silly. However, the accompanying music lifts above any lyrical shortcomings to create songs that have you bopping along with them, whether you like it or not. On the whole, the album is rather good and fans of the group will love it. It shows growth for them, but also has strong ties to their previous work. There are, naturally, some songs that just don’t work.
Toward the end of the album, the flow is interrupted with an attempt to appear socially conscious or political which doesn’t really work. The tracks “Now Generation” and “One Tribe” aren’t necessarily bad songs, in fact I quite liked One Tribe, but they don’t fit with the party atmosphere of the rest of the album. I also found the Fergie-centric track “Electric City” to be completely forgettable.
Expect the next hit from this album to be “Imma be”. Despite repeating the title of the track over 100 times in the song, it is very catchy with an almost Gnarls Barkley feel. “Rock That Body” is destined to be a popular club track. It’s one of those tracks you hear in a club and immediately jump up to flail yourself around the dance floor.
The E.N.D. isn’t a revolutionary album, a guilty pleasure of sorts, but there’s no denying that it is a whole lot of fun. Fans of BEP will enjoy it but it also has the ability to recruit new fans as well. Whether you buy it or not, be prepared to hear half the album on the radio over the next few months as there are plenty of tracks on it that will no doubt receive extended and excessive radio play.