Review Summary: A vapid, near-worthless dud from the Black Eyed Peas lynchpin.
Here's a cool word I found.
je·june (jə-jūn') pronunciation
1. Not interesting; dull.
2. Lacking maturity; childish.
3. Lacking in nutrition.
[From Latin iēiūnus: meager, dry, fasting.]
You can also use 'jejunely' and 'jejuneness'. Sometimes it's useful to know stupid words, like when you're searching for exactly what to say about a boring album with absolutely zero substance.
Songs About Girls
is will.i.am's third solo outing outside of the Black Eyed Peas. Seeing that BEP have had considerable success since his last effort, and that will.i.am has been putting in numerous appearances as a guest producer for the likes of Nas, Common, Talib Kweli, and Pussycat Dolls, this one is considerably more anticipated than Lost Change
of Must B 21
. Will himself describes it as a concept album about relationships, with reports surfacing that it was inspired by a long-term relationship he recently came out of. All of which means that you'd expect this to be his great chance to become credible with a much wider audience than the one that respects him now, and all of which makes it a little surprising that he's fluffed his chance so spectacularly. Contrary to his claims, this is the most vapid material he's ever conjured, and that's saying something when you consider that this is the man behind "My Humps", "I Love My Bitch", and "Beep".
The positives. will.i.am is considerably more talented as a producer than as a rapper, and with a few of these songs, it's easy to see how a good rapper could have made them something worthwhile. The music - which is also handled on various tracks by Polow Da Don and Fernando Garibay - is unashamedly trying to appeal to both clubs and commercial radio throughout, which at least makes it more focused than a lot of rap albums that feel divided into categories. You can't really call it solid when you've got tracks like the sub-Jamiroquai "Impatient", but it's passable, with occasional hints that will.i.am can actually be quite inventive when he sets his mind to it. And that's about it, really.
The negatives, on the other hand, are numerous. The first, paradoxically for a rap album, is that there's a serious lack of guest appearances here. will.i.am does have a decent voice and a decent flow, and he's definitely not bad enough to ruin an album when he's only one of three rappers, but he is nowhere near good enough to carry an entire album by himself, and the absence of the other Black Eyed Peas throws his shortcomings as an MC into sharp relief. Only Snoop Dogg gets invited along for the ride here and even though his input is nothing special by his standards, it's a highlight just because it's not will.i.am, and that means it's not will.i.am's lyrics.
There's no getting around it - will.i.am is a seriously crappy lyricist. "I Got It From My Mama" is the single most throwaway piece of music produced in 2007, consisting of nothing more than a call-and-response of 'Where'd you got that body from"/I got it from my mama!', and a list of observations by Will, like 'If a girl ugly, nine time out of ten, she ugly like her mama', and 'If a girl got booty, nine times out of ten, she got booty like her mama'. Sadly, he doesn't note that 'some girls' mothers are bigger than other girls' mothers', which is just another mark against an already terrible song. "She's a Star" contains the word 'bling' repeated more times than I care to count. And then, of course, you've got the amazing couplet of 'I know you want more than a dick in ya, you want a good ****** to stick with ya....'
Even when will.i.am makes the effort to get serious for a minute, he falls on his ass. "S.O.S. (Mother Nature)" closes the album with a dedication to the environment and a warning about global warming, and it's awful. By this point I doubt even the most skilled lyricist could say something on this topic without being boorish, obvious, or annoying, and will.i.am is all three.
Although it's obvious exactly what will.i.am is trying to do and who he's trying to appeal to, it's hard to imagine anybody enjoying this album for more than one listen. It's too empty, too boring, too lifeless, too lazy. There's not even one song here that sounds good enough to be a big single, although "I Got It From My Mama" might. In short, Songs About Girls
is an abject failure on practically every level.