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Album Review: Black Eyed Peas' 'The Beginning'

  • Nov 22, 2010
Rating:
-5

A couple of weeks ago I read, out of the blue, that The Black Eyed Peas had a new album coming out. I was surprised but excited because I felt The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) was probably one of the best albums of 2009. They even went so far as to title this album The Beginning to give the sense that this was going to be a prequel/sequel to the massive big hit of a last album. Well, like most sequels or prequels, this one pales in comparison to that first album. Rarely do I do this but right off the bat I’m going to say it – do not get this album. It is pure, unapologetic, utter crap. It lacks substance, it feels lazily slapped together, doesn’t have one song that screams “hit” and the lyrics are some of the weakest of the group’s history so far.

Track-by-Track:
The album begins with “The Time (Dirty Bit)” that samples the Dirty Dancing theme “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life”. Honestly, if you take out the sampling of such an iconic song you’re left with a rather abysmal song that has lyrics that address pretty much absolutely nothing at all. This tracks feels like it was conceived to be the new “I Got a Feeling” but doesn’t come close at all to the greatness, spontaneity, and funness of that track. “Light Up the Night” is supposed to be a party song as it sings of rocking and stirring up all sorts of craziness during a night of partying. Well, the singing feels flat and overall production lazy. “Love You Long Time” hardly has any lyrics and relies on a hook being resung repetitively “boy I let you me, let you love me, let you love me long time in the velvet lounge.” It’s catchy but gets old quick. “XOXOXO” is all about texting your love to the girl (or guy) you’re in love. The song structure is pretty simple and the song features an electronic beat of automatic hand claps and a bass drum being beat and accents from a synthesizer. “Someday” focuses on making it and accomplishing your dreams and goals despite having others tell you that you won’t make it or find success. While the lyrics have some substance, the song itself is forgettable and weak. Even though her vocals are severely autotuned, Fergie’s heavy presence on “Whenever” keeps things lively and interesting on this particular track. The only thing remarkable or memorable about “Fashion Beats” is the solo in the middle by Fergie that closely emulates Debbie Harry’s rap from Blondie’s “Rapture”.

You’d expect things to turn around with “Don’t Stop the Party” but not so much. Will.i.am just inserts some awkwardly lame lyrics into the song. The only good thing I can say of the song is that the instrument backing is rather peppy and techno/club orientated – it’s just unfortunate that the lyrics don’t come close to that and fall very short of it all. “Do It Like This” has Will.i.am and Fergie rapping and when compared to some of the other tracks on this release is probably one of the best that ‘The Beginning’ has to offer – and that’s saying a lot because it’s not by any means as good as some of the group’s past big hits. It has eye-rolling lyrics and writing from Will.i.am like: “Zulu, I’m the sh*t – you the focka!” Believe me, the lyrics get far worse as the song progresses including using derogatory slams against lesbians and boasts from Will.i.am that he can turn lesbians into penis lovers.

“The Situation” is another decent track. It has a bit of a rock edge to it. Fergie does a bit more singing (though it’s more like screaming) on this track than she does on the other tracks. It’s a song all about an unbalanced relationship. This track feels a bit more inspired than the other tracks and has an energy and punch to it that’s lacking from the other tracks. “The Coming” sinks the album once more into repetitive lyrics, too much Will.i.am, screaming Fergie and uninspired music instrumentation. “Own It” is similar to “Someday” in that the message of the song is positive and encourages the listener to take charge of his or her life and aim high in life. Of the motivational tracks, this one was better than “Someday” though I don’t get why there was nothing but Will.i.am when this is a Black Eyed Peas album. “The Best One Yet (The Boy)” is pretty unremarkable and similar into all the other tracks in that the chorus is repeated non-stop to the point where you just lose interesting in listening to the track.

“Just Can’t Get Enough” finally has a nice beat you can nod your head to and though the lyrics are still weak, it made more of an impression than a lot of the other tracks. “Play It Loud” plays out the album on a rather weak and lame note and features nothing but Will.i.am singing … er … talking about how he pledges his allegiance to the music. Well, apparently that’s not a real strong pledge based on the sound of this album.

Final Verdict:
There are a few things wrong with this album. First, Will.i.am. I know, he’s the mastermind behind the group but since he’s moved into the producer sphere he’s obviously let it get into his pea-sized brain that he’s the greatest music producer and genius to be born on this Earth. He is all over this album, even to the point of the others in the group being reduced to back-up and guest appearances. He’s known for trying to spit out some quirky lyrics and these lyrics are some of the most juvenile, dumb, eye roll-worthy lyrics I’ve heard in ages. Second issue – Fergie. What the heck, Fergie? She’s had massive success as a solo artist and even on the previous BEP album we heard her actually sing a bit. Not so much on this album. When she does appear it’s mostly to scream out or shrill out a line or two. She feels missing in action on most of the album, however. As do the other members of the group because this album sounds a lot like Will.i.am’s recent failed solo artist quest. The other problem is just the music itself. Elementary rhymes, the chorus repeated to the point of wanting to hurl, all of the songs being performed and sung lazily. This album was such a let down but is aptly titled because this feels like music from the group’s beginning rather than the music of a group that’s had such massive success. If this is the best the group can produce then really this album should be the true “E.N.D.”

Listen to These: “Love You Long Time”, “The Situation”

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Album Review: Black Eyed Peas' 'The Beginning'

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November 23, 2010
Yeah, the entire album is a big let down. Usually I relisten to albums two or three times and like it a bit more or realize I was a bit too harsh or slightly off in my original judgment but the more I listen to this, the more I tend to dislike it. It sounds like a Will.i.am album and as if the others weren't really involved at all.
December 06, 2010
Hey, sorry I didn't respond! I didn't see this comment until I checked in on the review again. Next time, hit the blue reply button to respond to a comment so that I can get the notifications in my inbox then, you won't think I'm ignoring you :) That being said, I think Will.i.am has lost his touch- he seems to have let some false sense of "being the best producer" and success get to his head. He would've done well to involve the others and go back to the original BEP sound.
 
November 23, 2010
Thanks for saving me money! I had a feeling it was going to sound like that after I got a promo copy of "The Time". It made me want to throw the laptop out the window because I can't stand Auto-Tune! So, there isn't any trace of Apl.de.ap (my personal fave BEP member) or Taboo? Man, they should've stepped up to the mic and slapped Will.i.am's face....how far they've come from Behind the Front!
 
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About the reviewer
Antoine D. Reid ()
Ranked #186
Antoine Reid is an innovative graphic designer with over five years experience in print design specializing in promotion and publication design, illustration, and creating dynamic content for the Web. … more
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Wiki

The Black Eyed Peas' sixth album, The Beginning is the follow-up to the group's blockbuster album The E.N.D. Released in June 2009, The E.N.D. has sold more than 11 million copies world¬wide, while spending 52 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart. It is also the first album in two decades by a duo or group to yield five Top 10 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, including the No. 1 hits "Boom Boom Pow," "I Gotta Feeling" (which is the best-selling digital song in SoundScan history), and "Imma Be," as well as the Top 10's "Meet Me Halfway" and "Rock That Body." In addition, The E.N.D. was nominated for six 2010 Grammy Awards and won for Best Pop Vocal Album, "Boom Boom Pow" won Best Short Form Music Video and "I Gotta Feeling" won for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

While the title of The E.N.D. was a play on words (standing for "The Energy Never Dies"), the new album's title, The Beginning, "refers to what is actually happening in the world right now," says will.i.am. "The Beginning is symbolic of adopting new technologies, such as augmented reality, 3D, and 360 video. It's also about being experimental and taking songs we've liked from the past and playing around with sick, crazy beats."

In keeping with that manifesto, the first single from The Beginning is "The Time (Dirty Bit)," which is built around a sample from the ...

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Tags

Music, Album, Hip Hop, Fergie, William, The Black Eyed Peas

Details

Label: Interscope
Genre: Rap & Hip-Hop
Release Date: November 30, 2010

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