For the last four years, The Black Eyed Peas have been rather quiet after releasing a new album every two years since 1998. In 2009, they return and prove they’ve been quite busy during all the side projects (see: “My Humps”). Their fifth studio release comes out June 9, 2009 and is full of music. 73:19 of music spanned over 17 tracks to be exact. The first single, “Boom Boom Pow” was released in February of this year, with subsequent releases of “Imma Be”, “Meet Me Halfway”, and “Alive”
With no surprise, “Boom Boom Pow” is the first track, and is not indicative of the entire album. Some of the best tracks are found hidden, which is not shocking considering that front man will.i.am does not believe concept albums exist anymore, and that people “pick and scab” music off of iTunes. That makes for a very disjointed album, though when taken in context, makes perfect sense. Some of the tracks do segue into what follows it, so there may be a bit of hypocrisy.
Many tracks include instruments not normally found within the work of a group who’s predominantly known for playing in the R&B genre. Harmonicas, strings, rock guitars, electric keys and synth sounds coupled with the all familiar 808 helps to create a culmination of 17 tracks that are soundly put together and could easily be placed in the CD player at a party and left alone. Reminiscent of Elephunk‘s “Where is the Love”, “One Tribe” is all about the love. In fact, many of the tracks are about universal love that exists in utopia and eludes reality. Helping to provide hope through music, that’s The Black Eyed Peas. There’s something in here for everyone, both the philosophical lyricist and from the inexperienced to the experienced ear.
The E.N.D. will likely be the album of the 2009 summer for many people. With any luck, its listeners will be sharing the universal love and getting their grove on a la “Ring-a-Ling”.
Overall, E.N.D. earns a 4.25/5. When you are putting together an album of 17 tracks with the intent of all of them being viewed and treated as singles in their own right, each one has to stand on its own leg and be worthy of airplay. Most all of these do. Standout tracks include Rock That Body, Alive, Now Generation, and Rockin To A Beat
keep on keepin on