Everyone has their opinions on The Black Eyed Peas’ performance at the Super Bowl. Hate me if you want for saying it, but I in fact loved it. I thought it was full of great showmanship and, while the vocals were a little shaky, I was impressed that they sang live in a venue where a lot of acts choose not to. That being said, I decided that for this issue’s Music Mailbox, I would review their latest album “The Beginning.”
The Peas’ last album “The E.N.D.” had them returning to music with an entirely new sound that was nothing like any album they had released before. Instead of hammering beats over trumpets and drums, the group shifted towards a more electronic-dance album. While I enjoy that album immensely, there were some tracks that were definitely sub-par when compared to the group’s previous efforts. They continue with this new sound in “The Beginning” and in my opinion I think they perfected it. Everything that didn’t work in “The E.N.D.” seems to have been fixed, and the album is a massive dance explosion from beginning to end.
The album kicks off with the group’s first single “The Time (Dirty Bit).” I mentioned earlier that I thought they had perfected their new electronic sound and I believe that this is the greatest testament of that. The flawless combination of a pulsating dance beat is mixed with a wonderful sample of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” What works about this song is that it has a beat that is fresh. It’s not something that sounds like it was recycled from the Lady GaGa collection of dance jams. It’s unique and it’s a straight up good time. Even though it clocks in at over five minutes, the song never gets boring and is a testament to the Peas’ genius when it comes to song production.
The album continues with dance track after dance track. What really works with this set up is that while the Peas’ manage to have each song sound unique and stand out, they also manage to make the entire album flow very nicely. It’s one of those albums that you can put on at a party and press play without ever feeling the need to press eject. Of course, while I love almost every track, there are some definite highlights. “Love You Long Time” is a heavily auto-tuned song that manages to still captivate even with heavily edited vocals and a very simple chorus. There is also “Whenever,” which is reminiscent of the Peas’ prior hit, “Meet Me Halfway.” Fergie sings a ballad like chorus and verses while a lower yet still powerful dance beat plays underneath. It’s actually more energetic and exciting than “Meet Me Halfway” and does not slow down the album at all. Also the second single “Just Can’t Get Enough,” is one of the slower tracks of the album that has an almost electro-soul feel to it. It’s a great track that really showcases how dynamic the group can be.
While the album is mostly a good time, there are a few shortcomings. The dance tracks are great, but some of them start to feel like they’re going on forever. Songs like “Don’t Stop The Party” are great but there is no need for the song to be over six minutes long. The only song on the album that this works with is “The Time (Dirty Bit).” The song would definitely be well received in a party setting, but if you just want to hang out and listen to the Black Eyed Peas it really starts to drag on. Also the deluxe edition bonus tracks are definitely disappointing. While my review and score pertains only to the primary version of the album, I think it’s important to state how unimpressive these songs are. One of which, “The Situation,” is just plain awful.
Overall though, “The Beginning” manages to succeed where “The E.N.D.” did not. While none of the tracks are nearly as infectious as “I Gotta Feeling,” the album still manages to surpass its predecessor and become a much more impressive album in its own right. I give “The Beginning” nine out of ten pop-tarts.
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