No one can accuse The Black Eyed Peas of being trend-followers instead of trend-setters. They’ve always made their own way through the dangerous world of pop, the place where you need so much more than good music in order to survive. Their originality is obvious on all levels and their last album The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) is no exception. There are things on it that sound like what’s pop in pop right now. The electro overdose is something quite in fashion these days, but overall this album is a world and a genre in itself, different even from other Black Eyed Peas offerings. And yet… this is not necessarily a good thing…
In their desire to do something crazy and extreme, The Black Eyed Peas got caught in that trap visited by many artists who were looking for a big change, even though this change was not a natural one. You can force change, but if it doesn’t come as a revelation, it might sound just like that: forced. And many of the tracks from The E.N.D. have this feature.
Does overproduced mean anything to you? That would be the main problem with this album, visible even from the first single, Boom Boom Pow, which still managed to grab top spots on several charts and to help the album get there, too. The excess of Mr.Roboto voices and intentionally unprofessional chops does become tiresome in tracks like Rock That Body, Ring a Ling or Imma Be, the most disappointing thing on the whole album (it sounds like Beyonce’s Upgrade U, which can’t be good). The virus synthy take on 80′s soul funk does give a special flavour to some of the songs (Rockin to the Beat or Alive) and provides plenty of originality.
Still, the real savior of The E.N.D. is the third track, Meet Me Halfway, which, if released properly as a single, with a video and all (not just through iTunes), could become a real classic of the band, right there alongside Shut Up and Where Is The love?. It’s the place where genuine good songwriting meets the electro-dance production which trademarks The E.N.D., another good example being the second single, I Gotta Feeling, already a hit.
You shouldn’t let this review worry you, though, The Black Eyed Peas latest album does come together as a whole and will provide plenty of soundtrack to crazy happy dance nights and in this respect, they succeeded. It’s just that it will be difficult to always be drunk and dancing when we will listen to this album. There are so many who require the same.