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[Pop]

Black Eyed Peas’ new album regurgitates tired music trends

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

The Black Eyed Peas
one and a half stars

Lyrics aside, the cyborg-pop crafted by The Black Eyed Peas is often much more innovative than the band’s detractors want to admit. Such inventiveness is glaringly absent on The Beginning, however. Loopy synth grooves, jock-jam beats and clever wordplay fall away in favor of sterile techno that’s calibrated for mall clothing stores. Tired musical trends abound—tinny hip-pop (“Just Can’t Get Enough”), brain-dead Europop (the flashy, insistent “Don’t Stop the Party,” a hi-NRG “Whenever”) and ’80s homages (“The Time (Dirty Bit)” samples a Dirty Dancing hit). The highlights are few: “Play It Loud” resembles U2’s dreamy ’90s electro, while “Someday” is a sleek new-wave/techno hybrid of early Duran Duran and digitized Simple Minds. The Chic-sampling “Fashion Beats” even allows Fergie to do her best Debbie Harry-circa-“Rapture” impression. That song and several others could’ve benefited from being two minutes shorter. The Beginning sounds hastily thrown together, with little attention given to song structure, editing or fun.

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