Review Summary: I'M SO 3008. YOU SO 2000 AND LATE.
The date was March 13th. The year was 2009. The masses wouldn’t know what hit them. Beat connoisseur will.i.am, legendary songstress Fergie, and… cardboard standees Taboo and apl.de.ap would release the aural artifact known as Boom Boom Pow
over the airwaves, and for some reason the planet ate it up. I have no qualms with saying Boom Boom Pow
is bad, because it is. That one droning synth note over simple drum beats and a mind-numbing chorus of ‘GOTTA GET DAT. GOTTA GET DAT.’
was somehow so appalling that I guess we couldn’t stop listening to it. It hit the top of too many charts, and it also signified that the Black Eyed Peas were back, and this was just the beginning.
Well, no, The Beginning was released like three years later. Boom Boom Pow
is the first track off of The E.N.D.
, and there are fourteen more to go.
And if I’m being completely honest? The rest of the album is a lot better than Boom Boom Pow. It’s not high art, and no one in The Black Eyed Peas is exactly a wordsmith at this point (not since the early aughties have any of them been). While the lead single had hardly any beat to speak of and consisted of obnoxious lyrics meant to be soundbites, the rest of the music...does have beats! And they’re good, as much as it pains me to see will.i.am produce anything today. Rock That Body
has a nice beat to it, and a few fun verses. Meet Me Halfway
actually kinda feels like all four coming together as a group to perform, and the mix of Fergie’s vocals with the autotuned and down-pitched lines are different, and not in a bad way.
And I think that what makes The E.N.D.
so interesting to me is these guys ruled the airwaves for a solid year, and what they did was bring some weird, fun, party stuff to the mainstream and to the U.S. charts in general. I Gotta Feeling
(whose grammatically incorrect title is just now irking me) with its Guetta production is just a five minute anthem to partying, and it acts as a precursor of sorts to the incoming EDM and brostep sounds that would follow. Just slightly left of center, The E.N.D.
as an album helped shift pop into the direction it is today.
There are a lot of obnoxious tracks on this thing, though. Missing You
lays the autotune on too much, and the messy beat doesn’t mesh well with Fergie’s squawked ‘I’m MISsin you’
s. I think America collectively wiped any trace of Imma Be
from their memory, but I’m here to remind you of the insanity of the line ‘imma be a bank i be loaded on semen’
alongside hundreds of robotically delivered IMMA BE’s. A plus one to the beat-switch two thirds of the way through the song, but nothing can undo the damage that Imma Be
’s two month run on Billboard did to us all. Now Generation
was outdated the moment it was released, and its pseudo country-rock is probably supposed to remind us of R.E.M. and Billy Joel, who could’ve done a much better job at writing this in their sleep. Also, why did they make it country. What was the point.
There are other highlights. Fergie has a solo track in Out Of My Head
, which slowly grew on me as the epitome of ‘white-girl-wasted’ in song form. She also says 'bitches on my dick (oh no!) they on my dildo
’ in "Electric City", which is hilarious. The album ends on Rockin To The Beat
, which first of all, if you listen to this thing in order, God bless you. But it’s a good send-off that highlights the one positive that The E.N.D.
has in spades - the beats. Will.i.am would go on to produce some of the most obnoxious noises that pop had ever seen after The Beginning. But on The E.N.D.
he just...puts some fire beats together, man. Sure there are some stinkers, and lyrically it’s mostly a black hole, but sometimes...you just need some energy. And will.i.am brought that to 2009’s table.