Review Summary: fergalicious definitious
Fergie is most well-known as the sole female member of Los Angeles band Black Eyed Peas (abbreviated as BEP from here on out), as a singer-songwriter. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that she had a pop band before that named 'Wild Orchid', for which she was the lead vocalist. The group disbanded due to Fergie’s drug problems and frustration with the band’s image. However, she met future BEP band-mate Will.I.Am at one of Wild Orchid’s final live performances. In 2003 she joined BEP, which started out as a humble band - employing a dynamic in their sound; differentiating themselves from other contemporaries. It was from 2003 onward that they changed drastically and appealed to a much wider demographic of settle-for-less fans, and became the tired, simplistic band that a lot of you know and hate today. Was Fergie’s The Dutchess
a divergence in sound? A way for her to venture out and delve into other realms of music; to dip her quill into colorful, vibrant ink and let loose the branches which held her? The answer is simple: no.
Fergie’s solo album can be summed up in one word: insufferable. Her earlier work with BEP can be excused and dismissed as something typically bad, but with the release of a solo album, she’s regressed further and become utterly insipid. Her unfathomable pseudo-gangster persona - prominent in BEP - is, unfortunately consistent throughout The Dutchess
. Songs like Here I Come, contribute to this more watered down hip-hop oriented sound with continuous claps to match the simple bass and typical lyrics: “Ain’t nobody rip it like me/F to the E-R-G-I-E/I rock it hardcore for my fly ladies/I rock it, yes indeed/I represent Los Angeles city/Hacienda Heights is the vicinity/Old school homies still rollin’ with me”. Similarly, Fergalicious’ selling point is how provocative it is - a song that was so obviously made to be a radio hit that it hurts.
Most of her songs are reliant on their front-loaded sexual innuendos: ”how come every time you come around my London, London bridge wanna go down like London, London, London”, and infamy: “my girls get down on the floor/back to back drop it down real low/I'm such a lady but I'm dancing like a ho because you know what, I don't give a sh
it so here we go! At this point it goes without saying that she’s the linguistic equivalent of the short bus, and those examples aren’t even particularly bad in comparison to the assault of verbal vomit that ensues throughout the remainder. However, beneath the fluff, she tries to convey to her audience that, despite being rich and famous, she’s “no machine” and is very much like the rest of us- (“I still go to Taco Bell, drive-through, raw, yeah”), in Glamorous; assuring us that she’s “still real” no matter how many records she sells. To a point, Fergie sounds genuine, until the song breaks away and goes back on the same tangent about being rich and famous. One would think that the hardships befallen her would have inspired more engaging lyrical content than what’s offered here.
The album’s most redeeming moment isn’t even something atypical or interesting, but rather simply tolerable, comparatively. Fergie’s prowess as a vocalist prevails on Big Girls Don’t Cry, which, if anything, is her most enjoyable song. As it stands, the actual music leaves a lot to be desired. Simple drum patterns play through bubbly, generic synthesizers which act only to pad the record out; snaps and claps are employed and occasionally Will.I.Am will come in shortly to provide vocals. Perhaps if she didn’t compromise good songwriting for accessibility and bubbly pop synthesizers she could actually make an album with emotional depth and meaning, but, as it stands this will only appeal to those ignorant to better pop artists.