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Black Eyed Peas

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  • Elephunk,
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    Black Eyed Peas

    Behind The Front 8 ( 1998 )
    Fallin' Up / Clap Your Hands / Joints & Jam / The Way U Make Me Feel / Movement / Karma / Be Free / Say Goodbye / Duet / Communication / What It Is / ¿Que Dices? / A8 / Love Won't Wait / Head Bobs / Positivity

    I've been faithfully promised by Hip Hop lovers that Black Eyed Peas were once a real and credible outfit. I've had many slightly irritated mails urging me to check out the groups first two LPs in particular, so here I am. Fergie isn't in the band, so that's a plus straight away. 'Behind The Front' reveals a positive group taking cues from De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest. This is a soulful, mellow LP and there ain't nothing 'gansta' about it, thankfully. This is a solid album musically, no real surprises but the beats are solid. The rapping is particularly good in places, the lyrics are serviceable. The album perhaps lacks those one or two real slices of genius to be a gem, but equally I cannot find very much actually wrong with it. I don't get the opening 'Fallin' Up' too much but 'Clap Your Hands' I find far more palatable. Good rapping, darker beats, great bass sound. 'Joints & Jam' is particularly funky with jazzy bass lines. Smooth bass lines and much soul is a highlight of one of the standout tracks, 'The Way You Make Me Feel', a classy slice of mellow hip-hop. If you wanted something a little harder hitting, 'Head Bobs' delivers with a few thumping sections, a speedy delivery with the rap parts. It seems to mean something, there's a conviction here, certainly.

    A track such as 'Say Goodbye' proves how creative these guys can be when they put their minds to it. A really cool rhythm, well placed samples, a mix of real instrumentation and echo on the backing vocals. It's real cool stuff. 'Karma' is an addictive listen with a nice, reggae tinged vocal. Overall, with elements of jazz, funk, and blues woven in, 'Behind The Front' should have enough about it to keep you interested for a good while. True, there is little real innovation and the variety isn't as much as it could have been, but this is such a solid listen. It's undemanding, in the best kind of way.

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    Elephunk 6 ( 2003 )
    Hands Up / Labor Day / Let's Get Retarded / Hey Mama / Shut Up / Smells Like Funk / Latin Girls / Sexy / Fly Away / The Boogie That Be / The APL Song / Anxiety / Where Is The Love? /

    'Where Is The Love?' has been played hourly on the radio, for the past twelve months, or so it seems. The whole world is joyfully swaying to the sounds of 'Where Is The Love?' in a similar way to how people dug 'Killing Me Softly' by The Fugees a few years further back. One benefit of being older than twelve or sixteen years old is that you can see patterns emerging through the years. Popular music revolves around scenes and patterns. Black Eyed Peas are following The Fugees to the letter. Relatively unheard of, then big breakthrough. Couple of more hits, then disappear. Well, they haven't disappeared yet, but the rest is true enough. They will vanish, they won't survive beyond this album as any kind of force in the music world. It's tempting for critics to place them alongside Outkast and claim huge crossover plus critical acclaim = genius. Even Outkast have outlived their usefulness. Pop music is fleeting, and such acts rarely sustain the peak they attain beyond a twelve month period. Plus, generally, the faster the rise the faster the fall. True enough, this is Black Eyed Peas third, not first album - but as far as the world at large is concerned, we've never heard of them before. If you have every Black Eyed Peas album, then you're the exception that proves the rule. You're not the general kind of Black Eyed Peas fan. Indeed, they don't generally even have fans. 'Elephunk' has fans, 'Where Is The Love?' has lots of fans. Black Eyed Peas are only as good as their latest hit single. Because, that's the world they've decided to enter into.

    A lot of songs here sound like potential hip-hop singles, and good ones at that. They've crafted a highly contemporary and commercial record, that's for sure. As such, I cannot find bad words as such to say about the album itself. Yet, this hip-hop genre bending album generally just reveals how weak most of the genre actually is. This is nothing more than a fun LP, ideal for parties. We've got the odd swear word, the odd attempt at social comentary. We've even got semi-nu-metal guitar sailing through 'Anxiety'. It's rubbish though. It's a Limp Bizkit kind of calibre of song. Just because it's been performed by a hip-hop act doesn't suddenly make it any better. That they've produced a bunch of songs on 'Elephunk' that are well produced and arranged yet ultimately, highly average, will prove to be their undoing. 'Elephunk' won't be remembered as a classic in years to come, because it doesn't invent anything. It doesn't stand out as distinctive. Perhaps Outkast will be hailed as genius in years to come, but personally, I doubt even that. Some critics are overly keen to prove just how diverse their tastes are, even though most critics have no more diverse tastes than anybody else. People listen to the kind of music they like to listen to. Don't pretend to me you 'understand' every style of music and are qualified to say 'Elephunk' is a leader of a genre you barely understand. I'm in the same boat. Thing is, I don't care about genre's. I compare everything to everything else. If I enjoy it, it's a good album. If I don't, it isn't. I only have my own set of ears, after all. Check it out, yo.

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    Readers Comments

    bassplayeredd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    Man they are annoying. I have given up on the radio but have to listen at school. The songs got irratating after i'd them about 3 times. That's the problem with the music industry today, bands aren't built to last.

    chris ihavenopantson@warpmail.net
    Check their first album out. It is actually good. I was horrified by elephunk (not that I bought it thank fuck). They just sold out to make some money is all. And that makes them the worst kind of arsehole. Oh yeah, and no slagging off Outkast now! Stop it! Anyone who can have the bare faced cheek to use the backing "Oooo" in Ms Jackson deserves a bit of credibility. Methinks you don't really know what you're on about. Stick to your new wave guff. And yes, thank you, the Beta band 3 EP's is overblown tosh. OK, I like you really.

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    Monkey Business 3 ( 2005 )
    Pump It / Don't Phunk With My Heart / My Style / Don't Lie / My Humps / Like That / Dum Diddly / Feel It / Gone Going / They Don't Want Music / Disco Club / Bebot / Ba Bump / Audio Deltie At Low Fidelity / Union / Do What You Want

    'Union' features heavy sampling of Sting's 'Englishman In New York'. Don't you hate it when RnB acts base a song entirely on a looped sample of someone elses hit? It's the laziest form of music making, especially when the new element, the rapping in this case, is extremely poor and unimaginative. Yes, it's a new album from Black Eyed Peas, such excitement! Such original craft and invention, I mean, omigod, 'Don't Phunk With My Heart'! You see, they say 'Phunk' instead of 'Fuck'!! How good is that!!! !!!! !!!! 'My Humps' is the best song ever. Listen to the lyrics, so clever! Cos they mean having sex, but say 'My Humps' and 'My lumps' and stuff like that. What you gon’ do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk? I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk, Get you love drunk off my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps. (Check it out) I am of course, being deadly serious. It's quite clearly the best song ever known to man and the other lead single, 'Don't Phunk With My Heart' is clearly a piece of sheer hip-hop genuis. Oh, and you know 'They Don't Want Music'? It's got James Brown on it. He must be so lucky to get to work with Black Eyed Peas, don't ya think? 'My Style' features Justin Timberlake, the lyric mentions boys and girls. You can dance to it. You can't dance to Radiohead or U2, can you? Rock music is rubbish. So DEPRESSING, MY GOD! Yeah but no but yeah. Oh, by the way. Please scroll down the page until text reappears. It's quite important you all do that, or you won't get to read the rest of the review. All will be revealed!

    Did you like that blank space? It was actually a glimpse inside the brain of someone who actually really likes 'Monkey Business' and won't at all be embarrassed to have it in their collections, gathering dust, in around 18 months time. And now, I really AM being serious, in case some of you found the irony hard to grasp earlier in the review. 'Monkey Business' is a step down even from the mediocre 'Elephunk'. They've gone all out for commerciality, this time around. There's nothing on the album to balance it out, nothing at all. It's a fun LP ideal for parties for people who find the music of Madonna just a little too high-brow. I'll leave the last word to [Anonymous] who commented on the album on the Metacritic site and gave it a 10/10 : This CD is great its the best CD that I ever heard.

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    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    thank the lord jesus, that someone has the brass bollocks to tell the truth about these fucking con merchants. the gormless blokes play the pervy lecherous role, at the command of the record company, in order to get a fast buck out of all the gullable teenage girls, who think fergie is somehow an emmaline pankhurst type, as she "stands up" to the "typical behaviour" of the men. wake up!! it's all a game cashing in on p.c. trends, that's all! fergie is no "liberator", no more than the males in this band are "mysoginist", it's just a brand, marketed and sold to perfection. the other comic sub plot here, is the fact that people refer to the black eyed peas as "r'n'b" yeah sure, just like bon jovi are "heavy metal", james blunt is "indie", and blink 182 are "punk". oh, fuck this!!!! listen up! the black eyed peas are just a politically correct a'n'r man's wet dream, and the band are happy to play the game. there's absolutely nothing revolutionary about them, that wasn't revolut! ionaryabout lisa loebe, the cranberries, or 4 non blondes. when will men in music wake up to the misandrist portrayal of themselves as sid james style creeps and leeches, quite happy to make a buck in the name of political correctness.........???!!!

    James Hunter jhmusicman12@hotmail.com
    Thank you thank you thank you! That shit is so popular here in the States and it makes me so happy to hear someone who hates it as much as I do. I simply can't listen to the radio anymore. The radio sees the Bleak-ass Piss as Pop, Rock, Metal, Country, Easy Listening and Sports Commentary so it can shove "Lets Get It Started" and all those other nauseating songs on EVERY SINGLE STATION! I hope it's not as bad in the UK. Hearing a single second of that shit makes me run to my bed, hide beneath the covers and cry to the music I think would be the complete opposite of BEP, which I believe to be the Beach Boys' Friends. May God bless you all, and I will probably host a party where we all listen to Friends while The Black-Eyed Peas sweep the Grammys.

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    The E.N.D.( 2009 )
    Boom Boom Pow / Rock That Body / Meet Me Halfway / Imma Be / I Gotta Feeling / Alive / Missing You / Ring-A-Ling n / Party All The Time / Out Of My Head New / Electric City / Showdown / Now Generation / One Tribe / Rockin To The Beat / Mare

    It seems that success will never end for Black Eyed Peas, lead single 'Boom Boom Pow' already a certified hit, one of their biggest to date. 'The Energy Never Dies' to give this album its full title is the most dance orientated Peas effort to date, aiming one hundred percent for the dancefloor. As such, this once socially concious rap group don't really pack in any messages at all other than to make sure you can get your feet moving. Nothing especially wrong with that either, in times of gloom pumping tunes like this can be welcome. 'The E.N.D.' has been impeccably produced with flair and intelligence and represents the sound of 2009 better than any epic, anthemic rock. It may not always be cool, yet there's no denying the fact this LP will be on many an MP3 player this summer. 'Alive' would be a likely contender to soundtrack this economically dark summer of 2009 - eighties tinged dance-pop perfection of a particularly top 40 kind. It's not big or clever and the lyrics are cliched, yet what were you expecting from Black Eyed Peas anyways? 'Rock That Body' for instance just attempts to do exactly what it says on the tin. This isn't Radiohead and I like Radiohead and dislike the normal type of pap that Black Eyed Peas and the like usually produce, yet this album is just all done so well. A critical eye has to accept both the good and the bad and there's no denying either the hooks or the production accomplishment of this entire LP.

    Auto-tuned almost to within an inch of its life, this LP. 'Meet Me Halfway' is, in one sense, everything that's wrong with modern chart music. It does share a touch of the eighties though in a similar way to 'Alive'. It's the kind of pop music I thought had been forgotten about. Oh, I know that eighties nostalgia is everywhere yet it's rare that music is done right in such a fashion without sounding silly. Remarkably for a band I generally loath, Black Eyed Peas have got it right. Well, there's not much musical redemption to be found in the odious 'Missing You' or the downright rubbish 'Ring-A-Ling'. Well, had you thought i'd gone soft?

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    this page last updated 16/07/09

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